On Feb. 12, more than 100 people gathered at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center for a conversation on media coverage of Pittsburgh’s Black communities.
The event, hosted by the Pittsburgh City Paper and PublicSource with support from the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation and California University of Pennsylvania, featured two discussions in which panelists detailed their experiences working in the city’s media landscape and covered concerns ranging from media bias to representation in newsrooms. Such topics were recently highlighted in a study by journalist and media scholar Letrell Crittenden, a panelist at the event.
We asked some attendees how they would describe the coverage and what local journalists should do differently.
Danielle Walker, 28, of Homewood, wished local media would dig deeper and report more nuanced stories of Pittsburgh’s Black communities. Here’s how Walker described current coverage.
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Bloomfield resident Clara Kent, 31, doesn’t see an effort on the part of the local media to get to know Black communities and cover their achievements, which can push people to leave the city.
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Lynn Rubenson, 67, of North Point Breeze, said local media coverage of Pittsburgh’s Black communities has “gotten a little better,” but that there hasn’t been enough coverage of racism — which has become more openly expressed in recent years, particularly in comments on social media sites such as Facebook.
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James Hough, 45, of Garfield, said coverage would improve if people, particularly the members of Pittsburgh’s Black communities, developed the next generation of journalists and media institutions.
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North Braddock resident Jaraya Johnson, 25, said it’s often easy for the media to focus on negative stories. Johnson would like journalists to spend more time getting to know Black communities and share positive stories as well.
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Ryan Loew of PublicSource can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jordan Snowden of Pittsburgh City Paper can be reached at email@example.com.