Kansas City newspaper apologizes for systematically racist coverage of black America

The Kansas City Newspaper apologizes for the consistently racist coverage of Black America Photo: An edition of the Kansas City Star is seen in the press room on March 13, 2006, in Kansas City, Mo. AP Photo / Ed Zurga)

The media are powerful and the images they present can shape perceptions. Racist coverage is a problem that black Americans have faced for decades. Things have improved somewhat over the years as the media have been called upon and become more aware of how they portray black people. One of the Midwest’s most influential news sources has come to attack its own racist coverage.

The Kansas City Star admits that he has “Generations disenfranchised, ignored and despised of black Kansas citizens” for the past 140 years.

The newspaper “strengthened Jim Crow laws and redlining,” wrote Mike Fannin, president and editor of The Star. In a column on Sunday, he apologized for the media coverage. “Decade after decade, it deprived an entire community of opportunity, dignity, justice and recognition,” he wrote.

Parent company McClatchy, which owns 30 US news agencies including The Star, The Miami Herald and The Sacramento Bee, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February. The country’s second-largest newspaper chain, McClatchy announced in July that Chatham Asset Management had submitted the winning bid for the company at a bankruptcy auction.

Based in New Jersey, Chatham is a $ 4.4 billion hedge fund and McClatchy’s largest creditor and shareholder. The company, which was founded in 2002, is secretive, KCUR reported. Its managing partner, Anthony Melchiorre, was a former head of Morgan Stanley’s junk bond trading division.

“Journalists were often sickened by what they found,” wrote Fannin, editor-in-chief of Star. “Decades of coverage that portrayed black Kansas citizens as criminals living in a world of crime. They were ashamed of what was missing: the achievements, aspirations and milestones of an entire population systematically ignored, as if black people were invisible. “

The Star apologized for his actions and released the first of a six-part package examining the coverage of the Kansas City Star, CNN reported.

“A positive step from (Kansas City Star) with more needs,” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas tweeted in response to the newspaper’s apologies. “Now I hope my friends in the local TV news industry will do the same. “

Others also commented on Twitter: “Slowly but surely we’ll get there, we’ll come to a time when all racists pretend they’re not. “

Another posted: “A sincere Bravo Kansas City Star… we’ve been here from the start, we’re glad you see us now.”

But a tweet stressed that an apology must be accompanied by actions such as reparations. “An apology is fine, but it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t come with reparations. “

Stereotypical representations of blacks have persisted in media, says Social Justice Communications Lab The agenda of opportunities. “Decades of research reveal a persistent trend for distorted media representations of black men and boys that contribute to negative stereotypes, unfair treatment and unequal opportunity in fields ranging from employment to education, through the police and sentencing. ”

Search by The Opportunity Agenda found that distorted representations of the media can lead to negative attitudes towards African American boys and men, such as increased public support for punitive approaches and tolerance for racial disparities.

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The Kansas City Star, which was founded in 1880, said it encourages other Kansas City businesses to look at their own racist stories as well. He announced the formation of the Kansas City Star Advisory Committee to help guide media coverage going forward.

Other media have already address their racist coverage. Three months ago, the Los Angeles Times recognized his own “blind spots” and said his staff were starting the process of “recognizing” bias and said their newsroom would not tolerate bias, NBC News reported.

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