Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Race debate in political journalism

I find it hard to believe that a majority of journalists (of any color), who have never been to a predominantly African American churches, could ever look at the comments that Rev. Wright gave in church with the appropriate nuances.

Most take the sermons in snippets and then make a generalization about what was really meant. This is piss poor journalism.

When will this country (and the journalism industry) be ready for a real look into why diversity is needed in the newsroom and on the TV?

Would not a Black or Hispanic reporter, who grew up going to African American churches, be able to steer news coverage away from vilifying the often controversial, rambunctious, fiery comments that flow from the mouths of African American preachers Sunday after Sunday?

"...diversity is a business imperative." - Walt Swanston, Director of Diversity for NPR

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Posted by Aaron Morrison at 2:10 PM | link | Tell us what you think [0]

Is it just me, or is anyone else uncomfortable?

Ever been somewhere covering something and you are the only one there of your race, age, gender or sexual orientation?

I have. And I have several journalist friends that have too. Most recently, a good Vietnamese friend of mine covered an event where a group of white people dressed up as geishas and talked in Asian accents for a community theatre performance. They assumed that because she looked Asian that she would automatically be offended. But that's missing the point. They billed this event as Asian-themed. Geishas are Japanese. And there were some other cultural nuances in the show that had origins in specific ethnicities.

She wrote a column about that experience. Here's a snippet:

As the actors piled out of the dressing room, one cast member stopped me. Aside from the caterer, I was the only ethnically Asian person there.

She warned me that she would be speaking in an accent and assured me that it was not intended to be offensive. She was just playing a role. The jokes I would hear were also meant to be harmless.

I am Vietnamese, but to most people I am simply Asian. That label, in a sense, reduces me to whatever people think of as Asian. It omits the nuances of my history, my culture and my identity. It makes me a thing, in a sense, not a person.

Read her full column, here.

My question is: in what way would you have conducted yourself if you were faced with the same dilemma?

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Posted by Aaron Morrison at 1:43 PM | link | Tell us what you think [0]

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Attention Newspeople

After spending nearly two years in breaking news, I'm trying to get back into the mindset of developing story ideas (i.e. non-breaking news... or news that isn't broken. Whatever.)

I need a refresher. And so, I appeal to you, friends and countrymen, what ways do you develop story ideas? And how do you know when you have a really good one?

Posted by Veronica Marché at 12:36 PM | link | Tell us what you think [1]

Thursday, March 06, 2008

My biggest fan

"Darren!?" The first word I hear this morning.

My dad wakes up at 7 a.m. everyday and rips open three newspapers. One of them was my paper, in which I had two features in this morning.

"Darren you know you got two stories in the paper today?"

No clue, dad.

He was intrigued with one of them because he actually went with me to watch Shaan Rahi play. We saw him on play Feb. 4. He went on and on about he played in the same gym during his days in high school at nearby Manhasset.

"How come it takes so long to be in the paper?" he asked.

I actually had to write the story, dad.

The other story was a pleasure to report because the kid was so nice, was well-spoken and had no intentions on playing scholastic basketball when he arrived.

"Who is that other dude?" he asked, with a tone suggesting he should know these things.

He's from White Plains, dad. He's not a Long Island kid.


Posted by Darren Sands at 12:15 PM | link | Tell us what you think [2]

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