Newsrooms: Pledge to Care for Black Communities and Journalists

The cops killed Ma’Khia Bryant, Andrew Brown, Daunte Wright and George Floyd, but anti-Black media helped create the conditions for these murders. And this is nothing new.

Anti-Black racism has been part of our media system’s DNA since colonial times.1 Media organizations were complicit in the slave trade and profited off of chattel slavery; racist journalism has led to countless lynchings; Southern broadcast stations aired vociferous opposition to integration; and, in the 21st century, the media continue to prop up police and spread harmful narratives about Black people who have been murdered by cops.

We need newsrooms to do better. To stop parroting police narratives about Black people. And to trust and support Black journalists. We need newsrooms to do this for the future of our communities and the future of journalism alike.

In the spirit of fostering journalism as a public service, we’re calling on newsrooms to sign a pledge to care for Black communities and journalists. May there be no more journalism written with the blood of Black lives.

Media 2070 is a project of Free Press, working to radically transform who has the capital to tell their own stories by 2070 — 50 years from today. Visit to learn more.

1. Media 2070: An Invitation to Dream Up Media Reparations, Media 2070 team, Free Press, October 2020

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We’re calling on newsrooms to sign a pledge to care for Black communities and journalists and commit to dismantling anti-Black racism in the media.

Our newsroom/media organization pledges to begin/continue dismantling anti-Black racism in the media and care for Black communities and journalists by:

  1. Using our reporting and storytelling to center the information and care needs of those who are directly impacted by Black deaths and the systemic racism they reflect.
  2. Refusing to criminalize Black people, especially children, who are murdered by the police.
  3. Considering people within the context of systems and histories of harm, power and oppression.
  4. Avoiding adultification, a bias that frequently surfaces in coverage of Black girls. For example, Ma’Khia Bryant was 15 years old. We will avoid referring to her and other Black girls as women or making them out to be older than they are.
  5. Being skeptical of police and police narratives in the pursuit of verifying information. Police lied about George Floyd’s murder and continue to perpetuate misinformation across the country.
  6. Trusting Black journalists, both when they move up and offer to tell nuanced stories about Black people and Black communities and when they need to grieve and move back.
  7. Proactively sharing resources and creating space, paid time off and other institutional policies for Black staff to take care of themselves.
  8. Auditing and assessing whether our newsroom’s stories, structure, leadership and demographics demonstrate care for Black communities and reflect the community, region or country we’re part of. We will make concrete changes wherever we’re not showing care.
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