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Columbia School of Journalism Awarded Kellogg Grant for Better Reporting on Race

Columbia School of Journalism Awarded Kellogg Grant for Better Reporting on Race


      The Graduate
School of Journalism at Columbia University has been awarded a grant of
$194,000 by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to train journalists throughout
the country to produce better reporting on race and ethnicity.

      The grant helps fund the creation of The Authentic Voice: The Best Reporting on Race and Ethnicity,
a groundbreaking multimedia project, which will teach students, as well
as working journalists, the crucial skills and sensibilities needed to
develop more accurate and nuanced reporting about race. This teaching
tool, a first of its kind, includes a textbook, DVD, Web site and
teacher’s guide and is expected to be available in May.

      The Authentic Voice
addresses the fundamental truth that too often there have been failures
in accuracy and inclusion in reporting on people and communities of
color by the mainstream, predominantly White press. However,
journalists of any racial or ethnic background can hold inaccurate
assumptions about people who are different from them. Such assumptions,
when unchecked, can lead to distorted and biased reporting and can
engender stereotypes and prejudice in society. The aim of the The Authentic Voice, therefore, is to assist all reporters when covering people different from themselves.

      “The W.K.
Kellogg Foundation grant recognizes our commitment, while at the same
time it illustrates the commitment of the Kellogg Foundation, to
challenging prejudice — whether conscious or unconscious,” said
Nicholas Lemann, dean of the Journalism School. “Our goal at the
Journalism School is to set a new, higher standard for education
regarding the coverage of race and ethnicity. We endeavor to be leaders
in the field.”

      Media coverage
of race and ethnicity is especially sensitive because news reports can
sometimes sway public opinion. For example, the excessive use of images
showing Black women when discussing welfare and young Black men when
discussing crime leads to inaccurate reporting and harm to communities
as well. There is a pressing need for journalists to examine the
choices they make about race and ethnicity and to strive for stories
with greater depth and accuracy. The Authentic Voice is about journalism with integrity.

      The DVD will
include the seven television stories, as well as 14 interviews with
both the print and television journalists whose work is included in the
project. Leading journalists such as Ted Koppel, former anchor of Nightline, Bob Simon of 60 Minutes and Anne Hull, national writer for The Washington Post sat down for interviews. They
discuss the evolution of their stories, the challenges, their mistakes,
ethical issues and all of the work that goes into quality reporting of
any kind, with particular focus on the issues that can arise when a
story involves race and/or ethnicity.

      Arlene Notoro
Morgan, associate dean for prizes and programs at Columbia’s Journalism
School, has teamed up with co-editors Alice Irene Pifer and Keith Woods
to produce The Authentic Voice. Morgan has found that, “From
our own contact with journalism educators and editors, we know there is
a void when it comes to teaching materials regarding journalism, race
and ethnicity. Our mission is to fill that void in the classroom and in
the newsroom.”

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