ONA Weekly #315: “You Cannot Preach Allyship And Not Love It Every Day”

By on July 1, 2020


From the Board: You cannot preach allyship and not love it every day

Black journalists and other journalists of color continue to speak up about their experiences with racism, discrimination and limited representation in newsrooms. Calls for accountability and meaningful actions are growing. We asked the ONA Board of Directors: What is journalism’s next move? How do we keep up this momentum towards change?

Here’s what Aiyana Ishmael, ONA Student Representative and rising senior at Florida A&M University, had to say.

The only way to keep the ball rolling is to actively push for Black and brown journalists to be in your newsroom, holding leadership positions outside of the culture or diversity roles.

We need to focus on building up current college journalists of color. Many students I’ve spoken to cannot take on an unpaid internship, causing them to miss out on fundamental experience — and widening the gap between journalists of color and their white counterparts. Networking and interning are essential for emerging journalists, but having access to resources is always a huge problem.

Black and brown journalists also need support for the emotional labor they perform. Lately, I’ve had more and more white colleagues reach out to “learn” or “understand” how they can be better. It is already a lot to be carrying this emotion around with us. It is not Black people’s job to also educate. White and non-Black people need to take the time to do the research themselves instead of depending on Black people to tell them how they’ve hurt them.

As I’m noticing from current Black and brown journalists telling their stories, it is not enough to simply not be racist — to really be an “ally,” you must be anti-racist. That means sticking up for others even when it’s uncomfortable or against the grain. This isn’t a one-and-done type of movement; it’s a lifelong commitment to supporting, championing and defending Black people. You cannot preach allyship and not love it every day.

For Poynter, Aiyana recently shared lessons from her experience building a team as editor-in-chief of Journey, Florida A&M University’s award-winning student magazine. Her approach focused on investing in staff in a way that they could lead once she left. Read more: In 20 years I’m going to run your newsroom. Here’s how to help me get there.

Learn best practices for remote teams

Join us Tuesday, July 7 for an in-depth discussion on how to manage remote teams for the long haul. It’s our third and final session of the Newsroom Playbook Series for senior managers and executives. Federica Cherubini, co-author of Fathm’s Distributed Newsroom Playbook, will discuss workflows, maintaining morale, keeping meetings efficient and more.

Note: Registration for this series is free. We welcome donations to support our programming; the suggested value for each course is $49. As we’re troubleshooting a bug that prevents donations during the registration process, you can contribute here and note “Newsroom Playbook Series” for the donation category.

Explore recordings from ONA Insights

Session recordings and resources are available from last week’s ONA Insights: Audience Development and Analytics. Conversations included how the New York Times uses audience dataBuzzFeed News’ experimentation strategythree different newsrooms’ approaches to driving subscriptions and much more. Register through our name-your-own-price system to access the recordings; registration will remain open indefinitely.

Coming soon: A Guide to Immersive Ethics

Get excited, we’re releasing a Guide to Immersive Ethics by Theresa Poulson and Jayson Chesler in our next issue of the Journalism 360 newsletter on July 10. The guide will walk through the complex topic of ethical storytelling while using emerging technology like virtual reality, augmented reality and 360 video. Subscribe to get notified.

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