Diversity continues to be a problem in our newsrooms and that lack or representation directly impacts the coverage certain groups of people get.
To take this on, Minnesota Public Radio, led local research in the state to gauge the perception of portrayals of indigenous people and people of color as a way to help local media reconsider the framing of racial narratives that might negatively impact communities of color. As part of this initiative, funded by the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundations, they also formed a coalition with five local partners to create resources, like a conference and training, to improve the coverage.
One of the key takeaways from their project is that change happens with consistency and that one single initiative is not enough to increase diversity.
The habit is the hard part. Six months in, what is sticking? “I know we’re on the right track, but we need a conductor to keep us on the rails,” KMOJ’s (general manager Freddie) Bell said. “One conference is not going to do it. We need more of these refresher courses where we come together and see how we do and conduct a litmus test to understand exactly where we are and how we’ve improved.”