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Diversity in Journalism - the battle between NABJ & CNN


Last week, the National Association of Black Journalists issued a press release citing concern with the atmosphere and working conditions for African-Americans at the cable network. CNN responded by saying it was reconsidering its sponsorship of NABJ events. Missouri School of Journalism professors Earnest Perry, Jim Flink and Amy Simons discuss the issue.

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Last week wasn’t one of the best for journalists.  The New York Times laid off 100 from its newsroom.  Gannett cut back, including eliminating an entire publication in Knoxville, TN called Metropulse. CNN laid off 150 people and canceled several shows, including CNN Money, Sanjay Gupta MD. and Crossfire.  

Many people weren't happy with these cuts, including the National Association of Black Journalists.


NABJ issued a press release last week citing concern with the atmosphere for African-American journalists working at CNN.  It pointed out that several African-American anchors have left the desk – or CNN altogether – in the past few years and that there are only two African-American executive producer. On Monday, a former writer/producer filed a five million dollar discrimination and wrongful termination suit.

But Professor Earnest Perry said he thinks the problem isn't just with CNN.

"The overall issue that we have here is the lack of diversity and diverse voices within journalism. And this is something that the industry has been struggling with since 1968."

Perry said many minority journalists are tired of fighting to be heard in the mainstream media and are turning to social media and other online platforms.

Professor Jim Flink said that this isn't a problem just for minority journalists.

"Journalists are having to re-invent themselves. Why seek to get your 3 or 8 or 10 percent of the pie when if you're committed to covering issues in a certain way and you have the resources to be able to do it, you know how to do it, and you can devote 100% of your time to whatever it might be."

Hope Kirwan left KBIA in September 2015.
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