Wu & Izard


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REPRESENTING THE TOTAL COMMUNITY: RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ASIAN AMERICAN STAFF AND ASIAN AMERICAN COVERAGE IN NINE U.S. NEWSPAPERS By H. Denis Wu and Ralph hard This study sought to verify conventional wisdom that the presence of ethnie journalists—Asian Americans if) this case—results in more and better coi'erage of ethnic groups in a community. Nine neivspapers were analyzed from communities with varying Asian Ajnerican populations and geographic regions. Newspapers with more Asian American sfaff provide more stories about Asian Americans. Likeioise, newspapers in cities with larger Asian American populations have more Asian American staff and cover Asian Americans more. The impact of Asian American staff on coverage was greater than that of Asian American p'opulation. The influence of Asian American staff was found in sourc- ing. substance, and context of stories. Conventional wisdom holds that the number of reporters and editors from an ethnic group in the newsroom is relevant to the quan- tity as well as quality of a newspaper's coverage about that ethnic group. Advocates' argue that ethnic background is crucial to journal- ists' understanding of the issues of a given ethnic group and, therefore, to whether these journalists positively influence coverage. This is the rationale of the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE), an organization that has pushed for years to increase the number of minor- ity staff members in newsrooms.^ Likewise, associations of minority journalists and other profes- sional, civic, and ethnic organizations lobby media firms to hire and retain staffs of more ethnically diverse news professionals. They argue that such staffing strengthens the breadth of newsroom perspective and improves coverage of a community and of the nation's ethnic groups. U is also good business practice because Americans are more diverse than ever, and they would like to have their views reflected in their commu- nity newspapers. Nevertheless, no solid evidence exists to support these widely held ideas. H. Di'uis Wu is an associate professor, College ofCcmmunicatUm. Boston University, and jf,MC Quarterly Ralph Izara is Sig MickelsonlCBS Professor, Matiship School of Mass Communication, Vol.HS. No. i Louisiana Stale Universiti/. spring 2008 99-112 99 REPRCSENTINC THE TOTAL COMMUNITY
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Revieiv of Literature This research project focuses on Asian Americans as a case study to investigate whether the presence of Asian American journalists in news- rooms contributes to elevated quantity and improved quality of news sto- ries about Asian Americans, their interests, and their needs. It also seeks understanding of whether their presence as staffers might influence news topics that pertain to Asian Americans. Further, it seeks to measure whether stories done by Asian American journalists score higher on such attribute assessments as explanation, substance, perspective diversity, and contextual information. Mass communication researchers and working journalists for years
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This note was uploaded on 07/14/2011 for the course JOU 455 taught by Professor Cotton during the Spring '11 term at Kentucky.

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