Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Media Race Card

Philadelphia Weekly is playing the race card in reporting the layoffs at The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Deepening the wound at a paper already struggling for readers, advertising dollars and some kind of identity, the layoffs represent a major step backward for diversity.

Of those laid off, 16 employees—or 22.5 percent—are black.

“It’s a very unfortunate situation,” says Inquirer reporter Vernon Clark, who’s been at the paper for 20 years, and last week helped many of his colleagues carry boxes to their cars. “It’s devastating to see 16 African-Americans walk out the door when we’ve struggled so hard over the years to increase the number of minorities here. Those efforts have been wiped out in a day.”
It's predictable that when media layoffs occur for journalists to claim it is because of a A) greedy bastard parent company is B) obsessed with profits and C) could care less about quality.

The accusation was most often made against Knight-Ridder before it bombed was sold. This, despite of the fact that Knight-Ridder Foundation invented the diversity index for newsrooms, substituing numbers for quality or even qualifications.

The only minority representation at Knight-Ridder papers was conservative opinion. The newspaper chain was so unprofitable that only one bidder - McClatchy stepped up to buy it. The Philadelphia Inquirer was among 12 newpapers McClatchy sold almost immediately. The new owners are said to be exploring the sale of the 82-year-old landmark that houses The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News.

Playing the race card is hardly likely to elicit the sympathy journalists seem to expect. But, that's all right. They write enought sob stories about themselves to fill Romensko's blog for days on end. And these two papers in particular played that same card for over thirty years which is why the The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News had to be sold in the first place.

And the second time.

It's a game no one is interested in anymore.

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