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Today the Columbia Journalism Review’s Sarah Jones offered a penetrating analysis of why the media is almost blind to U.S. poverty. Teaser: major media outlets tend to hire Ivy Leaguers who work 2-3 years of unpaid internships and build social-professional connections … and few aspiring journalists from working class backgrounds can afford Ivy League universities, or unpaid internships, or the big city social networking scene.
And as if to prove the point, Reuters’s Jane Ross reports that Stockton, California Mayor Michael Tubbs is working out a plan for a basic income guarantee to combat poverty in the city … in a story that quotes exactly one working class person — and casually mentions that the working class woman just got out of prison.
Jones’ essay concludes with these suggestions to major media outlets:
Pay a living wage. Openly advertise your jobs — and send the entry-level listings to state schools as well as the Ivy League. Reconsider keeping your entire staff in an expensive coastal city. Don’t limit class, or the various beats in its category, to election-year hits or special investigations. These stories deserve everyday attention for what they tell us about the cracks in America’s façade. Make it easier for poor folks to enter your world, and we’ll even tell those stories for you. We’re resilient, after all, and we make damn good journalists.
How would our understanding of issues change if they heeded her advice?
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