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SPJ's Diversity Blog » Blog Archive » NYU story about NBA Player, Jeremy Lin gets hit with racist comments | A Society of Professional Journalists Blog

NYU story about NBA Player, Jeremy Lin gets hit with racist comments

I was going through my Facebook messages the other day when a comment posted by Yvonne Latty, a journalism professor at New York University caught my attention.  She wrote:

“A fun post by my student on Jeremy Lin has led to a bunch of racist comments on our website that I won’t publish…one person signed as Adolph Hitler…people are sick.”

Latty’s student, Louie Lazar had produced a video and written a story about New York Knicks basketball player, Jeremy Lin for their online news site “Pavement Pieces.”   Lin is one of the hottest players in the NBA right now.  The point guard is the first Asian-American in the NBA.

Lazar story “Jeremy Lin craze fuels Asian-American pride” focused on how young Asian-American’s are proud to finally have a role model like Lin representing their community.  In my opinion it was a “feel good” piece;but according to Latty, a handful of readers got angry over the story.

In the world of the web, anyone can write racist comments and not sign their name.  Three of those types of comments were posted after Lazar’s story was published.   Professor Latty says “I was disgusted and disappointed.  Why do people have to do that?”  Latty decided it was best not to approve the comments, because they did not add to the conversation.


Asian-Americans find a new hero from Pavement Pieces on Vimeo.


Lazar was doing his job, reporting the news.  We’re always going to get readers, viewers, or listeners who don’t like our work or the topic.  It’s part of the job.

It gets more intense when you report on a minority community.  The reality is there are many haters out there even in 2012.  As journalists we have to remember that covering all communities is important, because each has its own contributions to society. What we have understand as journalists is that we are here to inform and that means at times dealing with those who try to get in our way with ugly, hateful comments.

I know this is a learning experience for Louie Lazar.   It’s also a good reminder that there are more good people out there willing to learn from the information that we provide than hate on it.  Keep up the good work Louie!

Rebecca Aguilar is an Emmy Award winning reporter with 30 years in the business. She’s a member of the SPJ Diversity Committee and a board member with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the SPJ Fort Worth Chapter.



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