Kansas City Star published The Sunday story that covered Black people apologized for it.
“The Kansas City Star prides itself on the power to hold itself to account. Today we hold ourselves to mirror the historical role we play in shaping and remembering the landscape of Kansas City, both through action and inaction, ”newspaper editor Mike Fannin wrote in the piece.
“This is a time when we make our history.”
He wrote that 140-year-old newspaper reporter Mara Rose had come to the decision to take the exam following a suggestion from Williams. That suggestion took a deeper look at the paper race and coverage of the black community since its inception in 1880.
In their research, Kansas City journalists looked through newspaper archives and interviewed people who lived through reported incidents in the past. He also spoke with former Kansas City editors and journalists.
“In decades of coverage depicted as black Cancians as criminals living in a world full of criminals, reporters often found they were ill.” “They realized what was missing: shame, regularly ignored an entire population of achievements, aspirations and milestones, as if black people were invisible.”
Fannin writes that the newspaper, like many newspapers in the mid-20th century, was “a white newspaper produced by white readers and advertisers for white newspapers and editors.” He explains that for some families, the newspaper was a tradition that has been going on for generations.
“But not in black families. Their children began to go to the city’s largest and most influential newspapers with the hope of growing up until they got into trouble. Negative painters from Black Kansas removed the stereotypes and the city Played a part in keeping it divided. “
A “toxic narrative” was created in which black people were primarily depicted as victims or perpetrators of crimes, Denin writes.
He points to a rare example when a Black Kansas City man was celebrated – Charlie “Bird” Parker, an acclaimed jazz saxophonist – noting that it was only to report on Parker’s death. When his death was reported, his name was misspelled and his age was incorrect.
Fannin said that progress did not begin during the civil rights movement until 1960 when more black journalists hired. But he also said that the mistakes continued.
“The good news is, solutions are not impossible. Our gradual reforms need to be accelerated. We need a more diverse workforce. We need deeper community interaction to better focus on our coverage. We need our entire community A spectrum of voices is needed to represent. And we sometimes just need good advice. “
He ends his piece by announcing the formation of The Kansas City Star Advisory Board which will meet monthly with the leaders of the newsroom to discuss current issues.
“We are grateful for how far we have come. We are stunned by how far we still have to go.”