The media has made great strides since the days when mainstream newsrooms were mostly male, almost exclusively white and often declined to report on communities of color. Yet even today people of color too often find themselves over represented in stories about crime, sports and entertainment and too infrequently in stories about business, lifestyle and everyday life. The problem is compounded by the fact that news stories still rely on the personal narrative, often ignoring the structures and policies in place that go a long way toward defining our lives. With support from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, the Maynard Media Center on Structural inequity is providing coverage analysis, a research library, reporting tips and a daily analysis that looks at coverage of people of color in the digital space. It is our hope that this will help journalists provide comprehensive reporting on the complex issues that create structural inequities in our society.
Each week our coverage analysis section will add new reviews of mainstream media coverage of major issues, providing tips on how relevant information about impacts to communities of color could have been included.
We will also be continuously adding to our research library database, which already provides links to hundreds of studies, research papers and reports that document structural inequalities in our society and THEIR impact on people of color.
Furthermore, few researchers have documented the impact of structural inequities more comprehensively than David R. Williams, the Florence and Laura Norman Professor of Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health. Journalists who view his powerful PowerPoint presentation will have a better understanding of how structural inequities have ravaged communities of color for decades, and continue to do so to this day.
We invite reporters, editors, assignment editors, producers and publishers to frequently visit our website, and learn more about how media outlets can improve their coverage of structural inequities in our society.
Why is this so important? The media’s failure to provide comprehensive reporting on structural inequities is one of the reasons that many Americans mistakenly believe that we now have a colorblind society, one in which discrimination based on race no longer exists. But a review of health disparities for people of color, the criminal justice system, unemployment rates, mortgage lending patterns and other factors tell a far different story. Misconceptions that are often spread by inaccurate or deficient coverage in the media are harmful to our nation. They make it more difficult for citizens to make the fully informed decisions on public policy.
We believe the data and information provided by the Maynard Media Institute on Structural inequity can help improve media coverage of structural inequities, and by doing so, can help build a better tomorrow for our nation.
Devah Pager - Princeton University
Study: Black Man and White Felon – Same Chances for Hire
Racism and Health:
Understanding Multiple Pathways
Presentation | Discussion Transcript (PDF)
Hudson Institute Debate
Race and Racism in America: Are We Now a Color Blind Society? (video)
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From the Research Library
The Structural Inequity Research Guide is designed as a tool for journalists and researchers. It lists links to more than 150 studies that, since 2000, have found racial disparities in the areas of health, education, housing, employment and criminal justice.
Download the Guide (PDF Format)