Kansas City Star apologizes for racism over decades of reporting

In a year in which widespread protests for racial justice prompted companies to investigate their own prejudices and histories of systemic racism, the newsroom also began investigating their coverage of illegal communities.

In September, the Los Angeles Times editorial board apologized for decades of biased coverage of the city’s nonwhite population, which it blamed for the lack of indigenous, black, Latino, Asian-American, and other minority groups in the newsroom. At least for the first 80 years of the paper, it said, it was an institution “deeply rooted in white supremacy.”

The effort by The Star, founded in 1880, is the boldest step in its scope and ambition.

“I think it’s a visionary moment that hopes other media outlets will follow his lead,” said Stacey Shaw, a lawyer and activist from Kansas City who is part of the star’s newly formed advisory group. “Many times people do not accept all of the terror they have created against the community. I think this is the first step, ‘We got it wrong, now how are we going to fix it’.

Mr. Fannin said in an interview that the depth of racist coverage of The Star was horrifying – coverage that helped address the cement disparities that continue to devastate the city. He pointed to the paper’s founders, William Rockhill Nelson, to mention and endorse Jesse Nichols, a developer who used racial restrictions that were all white, and to this day remain white.

Not only did The Star give Mr Nichols favorable coverage of his development and the space he had to advertise different events – read “A Place Where Describing People Buy,” one of them – but it gave him a lofty eulogy. Also given when he died. 1950.

The newspaper wrote in an editorial, “Nicholas is one of the very few leaders of Doordarshan apart from his time.”

The ambition of Sunday’s series of articles has earned The Star acclaim, it has also led to new scrutiny on the newsroom’s demographics: About 17 percent of reporters are Black in a city where Black residents make up about 28 percent of the population. By the time it hired Ms. Williams’ son Trey Williams to oversee race and equity coverage this year, the paper had been without a Black staff editor for more than a decade.

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