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The media coverage of black deaths has been diverse but two main trends have developed among black reporters. The first one is that most of them try as hard as they can to provide context. Journalists at major newspapers have made every effort to put these deaths in context to show that they are not just a coincidence. For example, in Ferguson the systematic racism of the local authority was exposed due to the focus on the context. Additionally, black reporters are finding it that much harder to separate commentary from reporting. They have been inserting themselves in stories and telling their life stories to show how pervasive racism is. Te-Nehisi Coates of the Atlantic is one of the journalists who have unashamedly inserted themselves into stories. The argument is that one cannot escape his or her life experiences and he or she might as well use them for the common good.
I understand that there is a temptation to tell one’s story so as to push the agenda and make people understand what the issues are. The problem is that when a journalist inserts him or herself into a story, he or she stops being an objective source of information. The audience will now focus on the journalist and his or her personal story and forget the larger issue. I would recommend that journalists maintain the bigger picture attitude. They should continue to provide historical context for the present problem and show conclusively that the underlying problem is racism. It is an approach which will ensure that the audience stays focused on the real issues. Going forward, it will serve these journalists better to stay emotionally detached on the most part.
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