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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The 2nd Thread For 12/4/13: The View From Non-Diversity


It was a decent interview from Conor Friedersdorf with Jay Rosen about the new site that I am apart of, especially Jay further explaining how ridiculous the stubbornly centrist "View from Nowhere" is.
What about ideological diversity? The View from Somewhere obviously permits it. You've said you'll have it. Is that because it is valuable in itself? Or is it just an incidental byproduct of hiring the best people you can? 
This is something we should dig in on, so excuse me if my answer is a bit long. ... I have been a closer observer of diversity efforts within the American newsroom. And I could be wrong, but I think these efforts are founded on a contradiction. 
The basic insight is correct: Since "news judgment" is judgment, the product is improved when there are multiple perspectives at the table ... But, if the people who are recruited to the newsroom because they add perspectives that might otherwise be overlooked are also taught that they should leave their politics at the door, or think like professional journalists rather than representatives or their community, or privilege something called "news values" over the priorities they had when they decided to become journalists, then these people are being given a fatally mixed message, if you see what I mean. They are valued for the perspective they bring, and then told that they should transcend that perspective.
There were other good things in that discussion, but what was so disappointing yet unsurprising from Friedersdorf was his failure to ask about whether the new website would have any diversity.

It would be a real shame if Friedersdorf never thought about asking Rosen that, let alone if it was in the interview but left out of the final published version.

But it is something Friedersdorf and libertarians like him must be resolute and persistent about instead of being blind to. In fact, it's something all white people with nice, prominent positions in journalism must continue to think about and act on, especially in the online community.

We already had one embarrassment this week of unpaid internships at liberal news sites that are a further disadvantage to minorities trying to get in the field at the same level as their white counterparts with advantages have, regardless of class.

We don't need a continued stream of indolent, unimaginative ignorance or irresponsible neglect. And it's something that Friedersdorf has to do much better in with his thoughts.  
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