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Should you have a “race beat”?

Is having a “race beat” right for your newsroom? Learn more about the history and trends.

The perspectives on race beats at newspapers are fraught: Isn’t it tokenizing to assign a reporter of color to the race beat – or ignorant to assign a white reporter to it? Is it a sign that management just wants to dump the “diversity problem” on other people? Shouldn’t all coverage reflect the diversity of the community – not just one beat?

There may be some truth to all those dilemmas, but the author of this story argues that the race beat is a necessity: if progress continues at its current pace, he writes, “we can’t wait for diversity to permeate media via hiring… The race beat does not ghettoize race coverage. It embeds it in the body of the publication and makes it an essential part of its mission.”