Unity ’08: Where’s the Ethnic Media?

Buy-out, lay-off and stressed out are common words so far at the Unity Convention here in Chicago. Many came to the conference to regain confidence that they might keep their newsroom jobs. But the reality is that most of the media outlets showcasing at the convention are simply not hiring. I saw many booth representatives taking resumes without giving direct answers as to whether they actually have jobs to offer.
Job cuts in America’s newsroom have affected all journalists, but particularly journalists of color, as you can read in a previous post.

“When money gets tight in the newsroom, diversity hiring and training are the first to go,” said Barbara Ciara, President of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). “We have to continue to argue that diversity shouldn’t be just a line item in the budget.”

While I agree that lacking diversity in the newsroom is a problem, I also noticed another problem at Unity. For all the talk of dying racial and ethnic voices in the mainstream media, there is hardly any representation from another dying voice – ethnic media. I understand that a convention of this magnitude couldn’t happen without the corporate money, but as journalists of color we are obligated to help sustain ethnic media. Buried under all the corporate sponsorships from major media outlets, various black, Latino, Native American and Asian media outlets were sparse. Geez, I was hoping to at least see a booth for the Chicago Defender

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