Use Your Voice: Stand with Black Staff at Your Local Paper
While major news and media organizations like the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette are undergoing a long-overdue public reckoning with anti-Black racism within their operations, they are not the only ones who need to do so.
White supremacy is a force in newsrooms across the country. And we should all be demanding change.
A new world is possible. We can shift power and build journalism that exposes and eradicates white supremacy. We can have journalism that centers impacted voices and addresses community-information needs instead of favoring privileged populations. This is especially crucial in a time of urgent need during a global pandemic.1
Write a letter to the editor of your local paper today to stand with Black employees in your community and call for much-needed changes within your local news organizations.
- Talking Points
- Writing Tips
- The U.S. media system has historically functioned as an arm of the broader system of racial oppression in this country.2
- The 2020 racial-justice uprisings have underscored the need to shift power and build journalism that will expose and eradicate white supremacy in pursuit of human dignity for all.
- Big newspapers like the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette aren’t the only news organizations that need to undergo a long-overdue public reckoning with anti-Black racism within their operations. This is something all publications must do.
- We can have journalism that centers impacted voices and addresses community-information needs instead of favoring privileged populations that support the status quo. Building that future starts with recognizing and repairing the abuses taking place within the halls of all news and media organizations.
- All of these outlets must publicly stand with — and meet the demands of — their Black journalists and Black staff.
Open your letter by stating the problem that concerns you — in this case, anti-Black racism at your local paper.
Define why this issue is important. There’s an entrenched system of racial oppression in our country and the media are a huge part of that. In communities across the country, local newspapers center white people’s perspectives and ignore, misrepresent or malign Black people.
As communities come together to address anti-Black racism and white supremacy, we must also shift power within newsrooms and build journalism that will expose and eradicate white supremacy. That means newsrooms should intentionally report on issues elevated within the Black communities they serve, critically question institutions that fail to address these communities’ needs and wants, and transform the process of newsgathering by engaging with diverse community voices and histories.3 It also means recognizing and repairing the abuses taking place within newsrooms.
Offer a recommendation. Ask your local news outlet to publicly stand with and meet the demands of Black employees within their organization.
Sign the letter. Provide your full name, mailing address, email address and phone number (many outlets will want to contact you before publishing). Include any relevant organizational affiliation.