Wick Communications

Posts Tagged ‘Diversity’

We need more female leaders

In Newspapers on 13 Oct 2017 at 7:22 am

Over the past week, all of us have read at least a little bit about the transgressions of movie impresario Harvey Weinstein. He turns out to be more of a mongrel than a mogul.

It’s hardly the first time we’ve seen men abuse their power in similar ways. We’ve seen this bill come due before. (Hello, Bill O’Reilly, Bill Cosby and Bill Clinton!)

So, how does this continue to happen? How do some men — and let’s face it, we’re almost always talking about men behaving in this way — come to feel they can behave like this? I surely don’t have all the answers, but I do know one thing: These sexual power plays are much, much less likely when there are women of similar power in the room.

I bring this up here because of an important study that was just released by the American Society of Newspaper Editors. The organization found that many legacy news organizations have made strides to include more women in management over the last 15 years, but some have not. And whatever the progress, women and minorities are still woefully underrepresented in newsrooms in general and particularly in positions of power in those newsrooms.

Here’s something else I know in my heart: If the people in our newsrooms do not reflect the people in our markets we will never be able to truly understand their needs. All-white, mostly male newsrooms are a slow-motion disaster for our industry. … Read the rest of this entry »



In Ethics on 28 Jan 2016 at 2:09 pm
Ben Carson faces a decidedly white press on the campaign trail. Courtesy Politico.

Ben Carson faces a decidedly white press on the campaign trail. Courtesy Politico.

The journalism industry has a diversity problem. It’s an old problem, and a pervasive one. I write this as the only woman on a small editorial staff that is all White.

So begins Kristen Hare’s provocative Q&A with Jose Antonio Vargas for Poynter. You can and should read the whole thing.

I think she’s right. Again and again over my decades in the business, the powers that be have made progress toward diversifying our newsrooms only to lose ground each time. The problem is rooted in tradition – many people of color simply don’t see role models in our business and therefore don’t think about a career in newsgathering. It is exacerbated by pay and benefits that are sometimes insufficient to attract people of all colors who have opportunities elsewhere. And it is enshrined when we lose momentum toward diversity in a climate of layoffs, when we’re all concerned about our own jobs, let alone jobs for others. … Read the rest of this entry »

You and the NYT

In journalism on 30 Oct 2014 at 12:43 pm

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 12.44.37 PM

In a recent column, New York Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan looked back on her third year on the job. The public editor at the Times is more or less an ombudsman, a liaison between readers and the newspaper staff. Sullivan has pushed the position into the digital age.

She wrote that she gets more than 800 emails a week from readers. Lord only knows how many times she is referenced on social media. @Sulliview has about 27,000 followers on Twitter.

She’s noticed a pattern to the kinds of complaints and questions she gets and it occurred to me that these categories of reader inquiry might look familiar to us. I know they are concerns of mine.

Anonymous sources. She says she has repeatedly bent the ear of Times brass about what she and others perceive as a rather cavalier use of anonymous sources. I’m not sure I follow the Times closely enough to have an opinion, but I know we take anonymous sourcing seriously at the Half Moon Bay Review and use it very sparingly. In fact, I can’t remember the last time we’ve been so tempted. To my mind, anonymous sources only make sense for important stories when there is no other way to get the information and when sources have a legitimate concern about giving up their names. Read the rest of this entry »

About that ‘vaunted self-regard’

In journalism on 12 Jun 2014 at 1:13 pm


You know that feeling when criticism hits the mark? When your spouse tells says you are a slob, because you are? When your boss notes that you are scattered and it’s affecting your work, but you can’t find the time to argue plus, are those donuts in the break room?

Well, prepare yourself. Gregory Rodriguez has delivered a shot to our collective solar plexus.

Rodriguez is the founder of a wildly interesting enterprise called, Zocalo, which is Spanish for “public square.” Rodriguez founded the project 10 years ago as a response to what he saw as the segregated experience of life in Los Angeles. He found that even so-called public events and mainstream journalism served to separate us along socio-economic lines. Zocalo is run by the Center for Social Cohesion at Arizona State University, and its journalistic efforts are syndicated around the country.

This week Rodriguez wrote that American journalists are often their own worst enemies, that our collective cynicism about public processes is undermining our very business model. He notes public opinion polls showing that journalists are about as trusted as used car salesmen and points out “This chasm between vaunted self-regard and dismal public opinion suggests that journalists are out of touch with the public they claim to serve.”

Later he writes:

If American journalism ever wants to properly reflect the public it serves, it needs to discover new ways to bring regular people into the conversation. I’m not talking about more cheap social media tricks that ask people whether they agree with a court decision or what they plan to do over the long weekend. I’m referring to ongoing efforts to bring real people’s stories—with their conflicts of interest, their messiness, their refusal to be categorized in partisan terms—directly to the public. …
Read the rest of this entry »

Lady with a pipe bomb

In Writing on 23 Jul 2010 at 8:36 am

If a transgendered woman fakes an attempt to blow up her own home and is then nabbed running nude down a state highway carrying what looks to be a pipe bomb, you have a story. That much is obvious.

But is the fact that she is transgendered really part of the story? That is a good question and one I think the Argus Observer answered rather admirably over the last couple weeks.

Police in Payette, Idaho, charged 52-year-old Catherine Carlson with first degree arson and using a hoax destructive device – a new law that only went into effect on July 1 and could add 15 years to her eventual sentence – following a July 11 fire in the town.

As you can imagine, the fire, the arrest, the suspect have all caused a bit of a stir on the Oregon-Idaho border.

The initial story, written by Argus-Observer editor Larry Hurle, included this line buried deep in the story:

Clark said the female was Catherine Carlson, a transgender female who underwent a sex change operation in 1980.

A day-after story included this nugget: … Read the rest of this entry »

Do Hispanic folks read your newspaper?

In journalism on 23 Jan 2010 at 9:32 am

I was intrigued by a recent Pew study that showed virtually all of us in the English-speaking media are ignoring a large and growing segment of the community: Hispanic people.

The study shows that nearly 16 percent of the U.S. population is of Hispanic origin and that that percentage is going to double by 2050. Despite that opportunity, American news agencies are ignoring this segment of the population. The study focused on 34,000 news stories. Do you know how many had substantial references to Hispanic people and culture? Fewer than 700 of them – less than 3 percent.

Let me say up front that I don’t think Hispanic people are solely interested in news that is expressly about them. In other words, news of new bus stops in town or higher parking fees affects them just as it affects everyone else. But I think we can do more to include these potential readers and I think we have to as we go forward… Read the rest of this entry »