Most Blacks Upset by News Coverage: Blacks Find Newspapers Their Least Favorite Medium for Black News; Other Minority Groups Aren't Thrilled with Media Coverage Either

By Fitzgerald, Mark | Editor & Publisher, August 6, 1994 | Go to article overview

Most Blacks Upset by News Coverage: Blacks Find Newspapers Their Least Favorite Medium for Black News; Other Minority Groups Aren't Thrilled with Media Coverage Either


Fitzgerald, Mark, Editor & Publisher


NEARLY TWO-THIRDS of African Americans say they are upset at least once a week by the way news organizations cover black issues, a USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll says.

African Americans, in fact, are far less satisfied by press coverage of minority issues than Hispanics or Asians, according to the poll.

And blacks are far more skeptical that news organizations will ever mend their ways.

Fully 66% of African Americans surveyed, for example, say newspapers "do not pay attention" to comments or criticisms about how news of interest to blacks is covered.

While the poll should be dispiriting for all news media, it reserves its worst news for local newspapers.

Just 48% of blacks surveyed say they are satisfied with how their local paper covers news related to African Americans.

By contrast, 53% of blacks are satisfied with radio news coverage of these issues and 58% are satisfied with TV coverage.

In fact -- in a result that will no doubt surprise print journalists -- African Americans indicated they believe their local paper is actually the most racially inflammatory medium.

According to the poll, 47% of black respondents said local newspaper coverage of race relations "worsens relations." Just 14% said newspaper coverage "improves relations."

By contrast, 44% of blacks said national TV coverage worsens relations and 19% thought it improves relations. Asked about local TV coverage, 44% said it makes relations worse while 20% believed local coverage improves relations.

Other ethnic groups were considerably more sanguine about the effect of local newspaper coverage on race relations.

Nearly one in four Hispanics said the coverage worsened relations, while 19% of whites and just 12% of Asians agreed.

Similarly, the groups were fairly forgiving of local TV news coverage: 22% of Hispanics said it worsened relations, compared to 23% of whites and 16% of Asians.

Whites were most angered by national TV news, with 44% -- slightly more than among African Americans -- saying coverage worsened relations. …

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Most Blacks Upset by News Coverage: Blacks Find Newspapers Their Least Favorite Medium for Black News; Other Minority Groups Aren't Thrilled with Media Coverage Either
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