November 29th, 2006
Assignment Editors: Think Diversity
By Leo Laurence
The SPJ board in San Diego is white. But, when it was putting together a panel for one of its monthly programs, the list of potential panelists included an African-American female. That’s putting diversity into action in programming!
Sometimes, however, in a white newsroom, we just think in white terms, rather than from a diversity perspective.
White assignment editors may do the same thing.
When they are thinking of a subject to send a reporter out to interview for a story, often they just think in white terms. There is no deliberate attempt to seek out interviewees from diverse, minority communities.
Is there someone in the barrio who is an expert on the subject?
Is there someone in the Gay Community who can be interviewed for the story?
Those questions could be – but usually are not – automatic for an assignment editor to get more diversity into stories.
It would also help if assignment editors created a Diversity Phone Book of local experts from minority communities that can be used to get comment on stories.