View this email in your browser
Improving Social Media: Reducing Gender-Based Violence Online
May 19th, 2021 | 12PM ET

Join our highly-interactive livestream conversation with two leading experts in the field. We will be joined by Azmina Dhrodia (Senior Policy Manager on Gender and Data Rights at the Web Foundation) and Dhanaraj Thakur (Research Director at the Center for Democracy & Technology)

Register here
Engaged Journalism Exchange: Lessons learned from immigrant-serving media
May 24th, 2021 | 12PM ET

What can we learn from how immigrant-serving media outlets are innovating with engagement? 

In this Engaged Journalism Exchange discussion, we'll hear from Daniela Gerson and Chi Zhang, authors of the Center for Community Media report "Digital First Responders." They will share lessons from their report, and updates since it came out a year ago. And Chi will share more on the emerging sector of primarily WeChat-based immigrant Chinese media, which has grown and diversified in recent years, and serves as a significant source of local and political news.

Register here

Engaged Journalism Exchange: Lessons learned from immigrant-serving media
May 19th-20th, 2021

This year’s Collaborative Journalism Summit will again be conducted fully online — you’ll just need a device and Internet access to participate. You’ll be treated to three half-days of lightning talks, workshops and participatory discussions about a wide array of #collaborativej topics and projects. The Summit will kick off on Wednesday, May 19 and wrap up Friday, May 21, 2021. Sessions will be hosted each day from 1 p.m. EST until 5 p.m. EST.

The event will feature three jam-packed half-days of discussions about collaborative journalism, including such participants as the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, the Local Media Association and the Solutions Journalism Network.

Register here
Online Harassment Self-Defense and Allyship Training

May 25th, 2021| 530PM ET

How do online attackers target and harass people, and how can you protect yourself in order to prevent or combat abuse?

This training is designed for the Pulitzer Center’s community of educators and journalists, who teach and/or report on sensitive topics. Join us for a workshop with PEN America and the Freedom of the Press Foundation where we’ll talk about the basics of online safety and respond to your questions and concerns. You will walk away with practical tools and strategies to prepare, respond, take care of yourself, and support others.

Register here

Op-Ed: Why we need a rubric for assessing local news coverage of traditionally marginalized communities


By Letrell Crittenden


For decades, scholars have studied how systemically racist practices in the media have resulted in both stereotypical coverage of BIPOC communities and poor relationships with BIPOC community members. More recently, journalists of color have stepped forward to share their experiences with discrimination in newsrooms. And as the integrity of some of the country’s foremost media publications has come under fire, the visibility of racism in journalism continues to grow. Over the past year alone, we have heard horror stories about the lack of commitment in many newsrooms toward issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Groups including Free Press and several local chapters of the National Association of Black Journalists have actively led the charge to urge the industry to take a closer look at how it treats BIPOC communities both inside and outside of the newsroom.


We know newsrooms are not very diverse, particularly at the leadership level. We know BIPOC journalists do not feel as if they have a voice. We know newsrooms do a poor job of engaging audiences of color. And we know BIPOC communities do not trust most journalists


We also know we need a better way of looking at and assessing the complexity of  these issues. We need to find ways to allow newsrooms and those researching and examining media ecosystems to know exactly what they need to improve and build healthy relationships with BIPOC communities. This is where a rubric can help. By design, they provide clear guidance on how to properly and successfully complete an assignment. More often than not, rubrics assess for multiple criteria at the same time. Have a great lead, but not enough sources? The rubric details why the story wasn’t good enough and highlights what was necessary for it to be better.  


Given the complexity of issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts across media, it makes sense to create an honest and simpler way to highlight problematic practices within newsrooms. Journalists, newsroom leaders, and researchers will be able to evaluate the exact factors that need to be addressed. The rubric will also provide some idea as to what standards need to be met to improve their workplaces and the industry at-large.    


Such an assessment tool is long overdue. Over the years, even as we have paid more attention to issues of systemic racism, scholars and journalists haven’t always taken the best approaches in identifying and eradicating systemic racism from the news. The problem is so vast and complex that attempts at ad hoc solutions aren’t enough to truly challenge the system. When we approach newsrooms and ask them to change, too often the ensuing advocacy focuses on a single immediate issue. When an editor makes a mistake, calls are made for their termination. When a newsroom isn’t diverse, calls are made for more diversity. When news coverage isn’t fair, newsrooms are asked to take a closer look into how they report on and engage communities.  


But all of these issues are connected, not isolated incidents of ignorance or racism. Still, in many cases, newsrooms haven’t given much thought on the systemic nature of their problems. And even if they know they have a problem, many lack even a basic understanding of how such issues manifest daily within their news gathering and storytelling practices. Some places, like the Philadelphia Inquirer and WHYY, have acknowledged it and recruited top researchers (such as Tow Fellow Andrea Wenzel) to study issues within their newsrooms. But in many--if not most--newsrooms throughout the country, leaders don’t know how to begin making such assessments nor do they have the resources to engage in in-depth critiques.  


For the past two years, I have been developing this kind of rubric and using it with journalists and researchers seeking consultation for DEI issues. And thanks to a grant from the Media, Inequality, and Change Center at the University of Pennsylvania, I hope to publish a study detailing how the rubric can be used to assess both newsrooms and news ecosystems broadly. It’s not yet perfect. Other categories could certainly be added. And the rubric’s utility in academic research will be limited. But most importantly, in an ideal setting, we wouldn’t have to simplify systemic racism for people to pay attention to it. Even today, we are not (nor have we ever been) in an “ideal” situation when challenging people to take systemic racism seriously. But if keeping it simple is the nudge needed to start taking this pervasive injustice seriously, then that’s what needs to be done.   

Rubric Topic: (Assessing Diversity and Inclusion in News Ecosystems) 




  • Tow Center Fellow Emilie Xie, along with two fellow media researchers, released their latest report on, “Cooperation and Competition: Algorithmic News Recommendations in China’s New Digital Landscape.” The report is based on interviews with Chinese journalists and media employees over the past several years about the rise of algorithmically generated news and the resulting personalization of editorial and social media feeds. Among their key findings was a (rare) positive view of how journalism can meet the challenges posed by the automation of news: “In view of the overwhelming amount of traffic news aggregators receive, publishers often understood they could play to their own advantages by providing good reporting.” 

  • The Facebook Oversight Board saga continues. Read the Financial Times’ weekend analysis into how the “Supreme Court” of the platform is “an imperfect solution to a complex problem.“ In the article, Tow Director Emily Bell likens it to if “the Federal Aviation Administration [were] overseen by Boeing.” 

  • Last month, a group of media researchers and scholars published a book on the shifting methods and approaches to journalism over the past 60 years from straight news to service-oriented reporting. “Reporting Beyond the Problem: From Civic Journalism to Solutions Journalism” looks at how innovative genres of journalism are continually “exemplifying a commitment to the social responsibility theory of the press [and] assert that journalists have a duty to consider society’s best interests.” The Philadelphia Inquirer is one such paper that’s embraced service journalism in its newsroom.


Copyright © 2021 Tow Center for Digital Journalism, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp