Moving the Media Away from the Soap Opera, Gotcha Moments



Genma Holmes has an interesting post over at her blog about whether the story about TSU's audit is really any more worrisome than UT's audit and why it is that stories that run in The Tennessean about TSU are predominately about how much TSU sucks (my typification, not hers).

I'm not interested in the particulars, in part, because I really feel like I am not qualified to speak about issues of accounting and auditing. Maybe TSU and UT have the same issues, covered in different ways, maybe not. I don't know.

I do know a little something about human nature, though.

So I just want to say this. The population of Nashville is roughly 30 percent black. None of the newsrooms in town are anywhere near 30 percent black. I can't think of a newsroom that's even pushing 10 percent (with the obvious exception of the Tennessee Tribune). The Scene stands at zero. And as long as that's the case, I doubt we'll see predominately black institutions treated as ordinary. It will either be feast or famine, crisis or exceptional wonderfulness.

It's funny. I read Holmes's piece right before I read Trace Sharpe's post about Clint Brewer's new position at The Tennessean. Sharpe says:

Nashville political reporters have a responsibility to the entire state. I believe that Clint Brewer knows this. As I said, news is news. News is about communication and it’s important that the eyewitnesses on the ground in that three-block area are communicating the actual news, not ongoing political soap opera/gotcha moments, to the entire state. Especially in this day and age of shared news from Bristol to Memphis to Dyersburg. They are the eyes and the ears on the frontlines.

Sharpe's discussing something different than Holmes, but the complaint about wanting actual news and not soap operas and gotcha moments sounds very similar to what Holmes is saying.

I don't think that's a coincidence. There are lots of different reasons to keep folks on the outside — race, gender, sexuality, that they're "hicks from the sticks," etc. — but we don't get very creative in how we keep them out. Once we humans find something that works, we stick with it. And we resist any efforts to make us change.

But, hey, look here. You just read a post by a woman referencing posts written by women, and you didn't die of exposure to woman cooties and you got to think a little bit about some things you probably weren't thinking about before you read this post. Maybe later Tracy Moore will put a little something up and that will be cool too.

I'm just saying, you don't make room for folks on the outside as a favor to us. You make room because it benefits the whole community. People hear perspectives they haven't before. They think about things in ways they haven't. You get closer to the truth of matters. Media folks, you commit to diversity because it benefits you.

So get on it.

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