I was watching TV the other day when I saw a commercial for a new show about missing black children. The problem is that the commercial features S. Epatha Merkerson talking about how the media censors the disapperance of black children and adults.
That makes me mad.
I knew that stereotype sort of existed. There’s a Law and Order: SVU episode that deals with it, but I never thought it would come to the point of this.
I am a journalist, and I find it extremely offensive that anyone thinks for a second that I would not publish something based on skin color.
Here’s how it works:
send out news releases as soon as they identify someone as “missing.”
Reporters get these releases and post them immediately.
Any email that comes into my inbox with the words “missing person,” “Amber alert” or “Mattie’s Call” gets automatically pushed to the top where I post the alert immediately.
Immediately. No hesitation.
It does not matter if the person is red, yellow, black or white. To be honest, I’ve never even paid that much attention to skin color. I couldn’t even tell you what race the majority of the people were who have gone missing in Cherokee County since I’ve been here.
If there were to be any bias against a certain demographic, which I’m not saying there is, it would certainly be for the people who are middle-aged and missing.
Amber Alerts and Mattie’s Calls get pushed slightly more because the elderly and young are more vulnerable and less able to defend themselves if, God forbid, something were to happen to them.
But not race.
Most of the time I post the words then have to go back, scroll down and download the image, so I don’t even know what race the person is until I’ve already written the story.
For that matter, I’ve worked at newsrooms all over the South and not once have I ever heard a layout designer, editor or reporter make any decision based on the race of the people in the story.
If a missing person email comes to my desk, I’m going to promote it over the site, Facebook and Twitter to the best of my abilities.
Families belong together.
Children, parents, grandparents, dogs, cats, they all belong together. My role is small in reuniting them, but I do it to the full extent that I can.
I know there are a lot of stereotypes for journalists. There are stereotypes for any job. Most of the time I just brush them off. This is just different. I’m only one journalist, but I hope whomever reads this knows that that does not apply to this website.