How to Report Race

This year, race has made headlines in all areas of the news, from entertainment to justice to politics. It’s a complex topic, and one that journalists, like many others, sometimes struggle to deal with. Luckily, two guides, developed by Race Forward and the Aspen Institute, tackle the issue of covering race in the media with helpful tips and strategies. 

Race Forward’s Race Reporting Guide, released in 2015, asks reporters to focus more on the systemic than the personal, asking if there is an institution or practice that has race-based consequences instead of an individual’s attitudes or intentions. It also suggests that journalists familiarize themselves with the changing demographics of the country and consider all communities of color when reporting.

The Aspen Institute’s Reporting on Race in the 21st Century focuses on journalistic process, and encourages those reporting on race to cultivate diverse sources, partner with news organizations that serve communities of color, and provide places for people of color to give feedback on the coverage they see, hear, or read.

Both reports also emphasize having a strong pipeline of talented staff, both as journalists and behind the scenes. We at the Emma Bowen Foundation agree - it’s one of the reasons that we’ve worked so hard for the past 27 years to diversify all aspects of the media industry.

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