Category Archives: Journalism

“Coloring the News”

As a political science major, with interest ultimately founded in political journalism, the discovery of Coloring the News: How Political Correctness Has Corrupted American Journalism by William McGowan raises questions about the seemingly over-political correctness in journalism of late. He argues that “the on-going media crusade for diversity has made American journalism weaker, particularly on complex stories involving race, gay rights, feminism, affirmative action and immigration.” He claims that journalism today “encourag[es] a narrow orthodoxy that restricts debate and affirms identity politics” fostering a “journalistic climate in which important reporting is… skewed.”

His criticism looks at the world of journalism in a new way; when before political correctness and respect for the representation of minorities was not involved enough in the media, McGowan argues that it is present too often, that it has “colored,” double meaning intended, how news outlets deliver the news. For example, McGowan introduces how some news organizations use “bureaucratic instruments…. [to] monitor racial, ethnic, and sexual fairness,” such as the Gannett chain, which has a system to evaluate their editors and reporters based on how many minority faces appear in photographs and how many minority voices are quoted.

Such a system is striking; that a news outlet has and readily uses a system to ensure equal representation, though designed perhaps with good intentions, should not be in place. Equal representation should not be forced, but should naturally occur – at least that is what the utopian ideal is. On one level McGowan’s argument is intriguing; he continues that the reason alternative news has garnered so much popularity is the fact that there is a “perception of bias in ‘mainstream’ media [which] has fueled” programs such as talk radio and Fox News; however, on the other hand, it is important to encourage minority representation – but one cannot over-indulge it.


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Jobs in the new media market

So what’s going on? A couple weeks ago the second section of my Professional Writing class was privileged to participate in a Skype chat discussion with Reginald Ponder, who has a heavy hand in the media market of today’s world. He offered different perspectives and interpretations on the types of jobs available to someone looking to work in the media, which is important as print jobs in journalism are steadily decreasing.

Fields he mentioned include a “media career,” which he outlines as a focus on how to buy and sell media, becoming a “media guru”; a member of public relations; and the promotional aspect of marketing. These jobs are moving into the forefront of late because there is a new demand for them, especially public relations. Mr. Ponder outlined that working with public relations required good writing and people skills, and it was important that one know how to influence people.

This idea cemented current knowledge, for one has to be able to relate to others in this day and age if the product (or opinion) is to sell. With advertising and many market segments linking to areas of new media – video games, movies, television – new strategies are in effect changing the face of media.

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Filed under Interview, Jobs, Journalism, New Media