Politico: Black journalists push media to cover ‘hyper-racial’ moment in politics

Politico, July 29, 2019: Black journalists push media to cover ‘hyper-racial’ moment in politics

The Associated Press earlier this year shifted a national race and ethnicity reporter to its 2020 election team, an acknowledgment that race has become a defining element of President Donald Trump’s campaigns.

That beat, assigned to reporter Errin Haines Whack, is fairly unusual among major news organizations. And media outlets’ approach to covering race is frustrating some prominent journalists of color at a time when Trump’s language — as he recently called a civil rights leader a “con man” and referring to a predominantly black district, which includes much of Baltimore, as a “disgusting rat and rodent infested mess” this week — is threatening to define the campaign.

Some journalists of color are growing increasingly vocal in their push for media outlets to take race head-on in political coverage — and they are publicly highlighting the ways they say Trump’s words and the semantic debates over whether to call them “racist” weigh on them personally.

Tanzina Vega, who covered race for The New York Times and CNN and currently hosts, “The Takeaway,” wrote in late 2017 that one of the biggest media mistakes in the previous election “was underestimating the power of racist rhetoric” and noted “a disconnect between what journalists of color were seeing and what white reporters were seeing.”

Vega said “the leading voices” on race heading into the 2020 election are largely the same as they were in the last campaign. She said news organizations should be covering race on a more sustained basis, with reporters — and not only journalists of color — able to report on the issue effectively.

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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