2014 Summit Special Edition Opinions

Journalists, newspapers allow open discourse on racial issues

The Issue: Racism continues to be a hot-button issue in America.

Our Stance: Media can facilitate dialogue and candid conversation on this often inflammatory issue and shed further light on the problems we face today.

A potentially controversial topic in any setting, race is typically considered a “red flag” issue in journalism.

This does not mean journalists should shy away from the subject, but they do need to approach it with care.

Taking the importance of this subject into consideration, journalists should report race issues—as long as they acknowledge that this topic needs to be approached with care and understanding, as doing otherwise could lead to offensive or inaccurate work.

We have extensively covered the topic of racism in this month’s edition of The Roundup.

As a result, this edition had to be approached with great finesse; we strived to accurately report our surroundings while considering all sides of the issues.

Erik Meyer ’14 wrote the main Summit on Human Dignity article.

In Meyer’s article, Ms. Megan McDonald said that this year’s Summit will address various topics involving race.

“Based on our title ‘Beyond Color Blind,’ it’s not a question of not seeing color, it’s not a question of not seeing race. (It’s) that race is important, it’s informative, it’s very close to people’s hearts and experiences so it’s not being color blind, it’s beyond that,” Ms. McDonald said. “Seeing differences, celebrating differences and kind of using that in the best way. Shedding light on places that are dark, things that we don’t understand or ignore or don’t see is important too.”

After going through the process of finding, writing and editing stories that pertain to the subject of race, we have realized that written journalism, much like the Summit, presents a powerful vehicle for open conversations about issues.

Case in point: The authors of this very editorial come from very diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, including Mexican, French, Indian and white, and the amazing part is that those backgrounds don’t matter when it comes to reading words on a page.

What matters to you, the reader, are the words, not the skin color of those who penned them.

Unfortunately too many media outlets do not always pay heed to red flags and can turn their products into ways to propagate misinformation and opinions spun as facts.

Not all journalism is like that, though, and we believe newspapers are an ideal setting for open discourse regarding race and the problems surrounding the issues we face today, but only when approached with prudent sensitivity and finesse.

Staff editorial by Charles Louis Dominguez ’14, Christian Guerithault ’14, Aakash Jain ’14 & P. Erik Meyer ’14