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In early June, as Black Lives Matter activists protested police brutality and killings, the editors of The Maneater, the University of Missouri’s student newspaper, gathered on a Zoom call to discuss their own part in the nationwide reckoning with racial injustice. Like many other student groups, The Maneater had recently published an Instagram post expressing solidarity with protesters. However, the post struck some staffers as lukewarm. “I couldn’t believe how bland it was,” photo editor Kirubel Mesfian, who is also the paper’s only Black editor, says. During the call, he urged The Maneater to examine its own complicity in upholding systemic racism, both in its coverage and within its newsroom.
Following the hours-long conversation, the brief Instagram post was replaced by an editorial that outlined a series of new initiatives intended to fight for racial justice. In the editorial, The Maneater pledged to mandate social justice training for reporters, to create a diversity committee to oversee race-related coverage, and to include links to Black Lives Matter fundraisers at the end of every article throughout the summer. Such steps may run counter to journalism’s status quo ante; as Izzy Colón, then the paper’s editor in chief, says, her staff “wanted to prioritize what is right in terms of social justice.”
The Maneater is not alone. In recent months, as professional newsrooms have wrestled with their own historical failures, many college papers have explored ways to better support staffers of color and improve their coverage of the underprivileged—at times by
Read more here: https://www.cjr.org/local_news/college-journalists-objectivity-racial-justice.php