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America's Wire

The news media in the United States have been a guardian of the public’s interest. Our nation’s history is filled with episodes during which enterprising reporting, often by the bravest of journalists, has altered the course of public policy for America, and at times, changed our society. Examples include the civil rights movement, Vietnam War, Pentagon papers, Watergate and revelations of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. And in communities across the country, the media has made a difference at the local level, holding public officials accountable. We applaud these successes; we want metropolitan daily newspapers to survive, and thrive once again, in this new media environment. Our nation needs them to be financially healthy and strong, providing substance-based reporting that is often missing in the overly ideological new media. Yet, we must also recognize the shortcomings.

In many communities, structural racism is impacting people of color. Each day, 44 million Hispanic-Americans, 40 million African-Americans and countless other people of color face invisible barriers as they go to work, attend school, visit their doctors, appear in court and participate in other aspects of American society. These barriers often dictate where they live, the quality of their environment, available medical care and what schools their children attend. Most people of color recognize that these obstructions exist, but often feel powerless to overcome them. At times, this frustration leads to stress that contributes to unhealthy outcomes – from rage to heart attacks.

Unfortunately, much of mainstream America knows little about the pernicious and lasting effects of structural racism and the role it plays in preventing people from reaching their full potential. Why does this matter? Many Americans get their information and draw their opinions from the media. Clearly, the lack of comprehensive reporting on structural racism and its impacts is one of the reasons that so many Americans believe discrimination has been eradicated from our society or reduced to such a minimum level it is no longer important. These misconceptions are harmful to our nation. They make it more difficult to rally government, private and nonprofit resources to improve the social, health and economic conditions that many people don’t even realize still exist.

Public opinion surveys confirm that whites largely believe that racial discrimination is a thing of the past. But residents of the Mississippi Delta or Shannon County, South Dakota, where unemployment is 73 percent, know better. So do other communities.

America’s Wire is going to tell their stories. We recognize there are voids in the coverage of the mainstream press, as documented in this study examining media coverage of structural racism. Our goal is to provide professionally reported, written and edited stories that can broaden the selection of stories that daily newspapers, magazines, ethnic media and websites make available to their readers.

Michael K. Frisby

President
America’s Wire

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America's Wire Staff

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Michael K. Frisby
President
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Nadra Kareem Nittle
Staff Writer
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Kimberly N. Alleyne
Editor

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Report on Media Coverage of Structural Racism

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