Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Blue & White and read all over

With apologies to Alice, whose comments to the author were reduced to a single quote, I'm linking to Columbia student Josie Swindler's essay about the dearth of blacks in campus journalism.

It's a bit clumsy, and Swindler entertains the idea of purposeful discrimination a bit too much (a sure way to turn off the whites in question), but it asks lots of good questions.

Javonni Judd, C '09, who is black, came to Columbia from a mostly-white boarding school in New Hampshire, after attending middle school at an almost all-black school in her hometown of Newark, New Jersey. The newsroom was a familiar environment for Judd—like her high school, it is almost all white and she had to find her way without a role model or a critical mass. And though it may not register with white students, Judd definitely noticed the lack of diversity in the newsroom. She dismissed it as "odd" before finding her niche at the Spectator —with the beginning of the semester she begins a yearlong commitment as an associate photo editor.

Judd said that Spec kids are so enthusiastic at times, so pro-Spectator, that it's easy to get lost in the cliquishness. "Sometimes you don't feel comfortable if you're not in the loop." She hasn't seen racism at Spec; what has turned her off is the cliquishness, the insularity, and the false authority of certain editors, but she still calls the experience a positive one—and she doesn't even want to become a journalist.

Blogger Mike on Wed Feb 15, 07:35:00 PM:
I certainly can't argue with the point the author makes in this piece, although I can't help but feel chapped.

Back in the pre-broadsheet days, the dominant line of thinking was that minority students didn't join (and stay) on the newspaper because it was too much of a time commitment for people who might have needed to have paying jobs. Some board or other started a finanical aid program to help take away that excuse, and I remember sitting in a meeting and awarding money. It might have been a little bit cynical, but it was something. And the program had no effect on minority participation. We were generalizing then.

I have a lot of thoughts on this, but perhaps I'll post them on my own blog. Probably not though. Instead I'll just post a link to this article, which tackles some of the same issues