Reporting Inequality : Tools and Methods for Covering Race and Ethnicity book cover
1st Edition

Reporting Inequality
Tools and Methods for Covering Race and Ethnicity

ISBN 9781138849884
Published March 18, 2019 by Routledge
314 Pages 16 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Under increasingly intense newsroom demands, reporters often find it difficult to cover the complexity of topics that deal with racial and social inequality. This path-breaking book lays out simple, effective reporting strategies that equip journalists to investigate disparity’s root causes.

Chapters discuss how racially disparate outcomes in health, education, wealth/income, housing, and the criminal justice system are often the result of inequity in opportunity and also provide theoretical frameworks for understanding the roots of racial inequity. Examples of model reporting from ProPublica, the Center for Public Integrity, and the San Jose Mercury News showcase best practice in writing while emphasizing community-based reporting. Throughout the book, tools and practical techniques such as the Fault Lines framework, the Listening Post and the authors' Opportunity Index and Upstream-Downstream Framework all help journalists improve their awareness and coverage of structural inequity at a practical level.

For students and journalists alike, Reporting Inequality is an ideal resource for understanding how to cover structures of injustice with balance and precision.

Table of Contents


PART I: A New Framework for Covering Race

Chapter 1 The Individual in Context

Sally Lehrman and Venise Wagner

Chapter 2 Structural Racism

Alden Loury

Chapter 3 The Accumulation and Disaccumulation of Opportunity

Michael Brown, Martin Carnoy, Elliot Currie, Troy Duster, David Oppenheimer, Majorie M. Shultz, and David Wellman – An excerpt from White Washing Race.

Chapter 4 Implicit Bias

Satia A. Marotta, Simon Howard and Samuel R. Sommers

Chapter 5 The Colorblind Conundrum

Sally Lehrman and Venise Wagner

PART II: How Opportunity Works

Chapter 6 Reporting the Story Upstream

Sally Lehrman and Venise Wagner

Chapter 7 The Opportunity Index

Sally Lehrman and Venise Wagner

PART III: Best Practices

Chapter 8 Interviewing Across Difference

Omedi Ochieng

Chapter 9 Avoiding Stereotypes and Stigma

Sue Ellen Christian

Chapter 10 Using Fault Lines in Reporting

Marquita S. Smith

Chapter 11 Building Relationships in Under-covered Communities

Keith Woods

Box: The Chicken and the Listening Post

Angie Chuang

PART IV: Case Studies

Chapter 12 Case Studies Introduction

Case Study A Reporting Opportunity in Health

Sally Lehrman

Case Study B Sometimes School Segregation Comes From Race Neutral Policies

Venise Wagner

Case Study C Exploring the Wealth/Income Gap

Jeff Kelly Lowenstein

Case Study D When Housing Separates Us

Nikole Hannah-Jones

Case Study E Gaps in the Social Safety Net

Karen de Sá

Case Study F The Path to Legal Status Isn’t So Clear Cut

Susan Ferriss



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Sally Lehrman is an award-winning reporter on medicine and science policy with an emphasis on race, gender and social diversity. Her byline credits include Scientific American, Nature, Health, the Boston Globe, the New York Times, and The DNA Files, three public radio series distributed by NPR. Honors include a Peabody Award, a duPont-Columbia Award, and the JSK Fellowship at Stanford University. She started and leads the Trust Project, a global network of newsrooms that is addressing the misinformation crisis through transparency.

Venise Wagner is a professor of journalism at San Francisco State University, where she has taught since 2001. She has a 12-year career as a reporter for several California dailies, including the Orange County Register, the San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle. She has covered border issues, religion and ethics, schools and education, urban issues and issues in the San Francisco Bay Area's various black communities.