Media Council’s Guide For Reporting On Race

July 2, 2013

The Media Council’s Working Committee issued a guide for journalists reporting on race in Bermuda.

“Reporting on Race—A Guide for Media Professionals” was funded by the Colorado-based Aspen Institute. It lists 11 specific guidelines for journalists, some of which were adapted from the National Union of Journalists’ Guidelines on Race Reporting in the U.K. and the Poynter Institute’s Guidelines for Racial Identification in the U.S.

Included in the guide is a history section, which the Media Council said “should be useful to all journalists, and especially beginning reporters and those new to Bermuda.”

The guide was written by Meredith Ebbin, executive officer of the Media Council, and Raymond Codrington of the Aspen Institute Roundtable on Community Change.

“It was reviewed by a team of journalists, historians and others with a broad knowledge of Bermuda politics and current affairs, before being submitted to the Council’s Working Committee for final approval,” said a statement from the Council.

The Media Council’s Working Committee comprises Chairman Tony McWilliam [Bermuda Sun] Jeremy Deacon [The Royal Gazette], Tracey Neale [Bermuda Broadcasting] and Bryan Darby [VSB].

The statement continued: “The Media Council and the Aspen Institute are confident that the guide will contribute to the conversation about race in Bermuda in a meaningful way.

“Copies will be circulated to all media organisations in Bermuda, print, broadcast and online, and will be posted on the Media Council website. Like the Media Council’s Code of Practice, it is a living document that will be regularly reviewed.”

The full Guide issued by the Media Council’s Working Committee is below [PDF here]:

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Comments (2)

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  1. Meeee says:

    This is an odd document. It starts out by taking and using the perspective about black Bermudins that Dr Kenneth Clark took in the 1970′s; and it takes or brings that ancient outmoded perspective into 2013.

    Dr Clark’s perspective was that black Bermudians were a “minority” in the same way in Bermuda that black Americans were, and still are, a minority in the USA.

    It’s interesting that almost all the resource material is of US origin, as if the USA was the fount of all knowledge about racial relationships. It’s also interesting that the four person panel did not contain one person who was born and raised in Bermuda. That is, perhaps, the most telling aspect of this set of guidelines.

    Recognizing that the print media have reportorial staffs that consist of many persons from overseas; this Media Council blurb is a good set of rules for them. Most Bermudians don’t use ‘code words’. For decades we’ve been used to asking as a means of ID: “is he a black Trott or a white Trott? Or , a black Hollis or a white Hollis?” Straight out and upfront.

    Hope the foreign (can I say that?) journalists carry this around and leaf through it with every sentence that they write.

  2. Familiar says:

    Quote: ” Be aware of the use of labels that may be considered stereotypes or code words for black Bermudians: low-income, single mothers, teenpregnancy, out-of-wedlock births, wall sitters, deadbeat dads, Bermudians.

    The use of labels applies to whites as well. Non-Bermudians can be a code word for whites.”

    I’m sorry, the problem with these so-called ‘code words’ is not with the media, but with those who read the words in the negatively defined context that the Media Council’s document suggests.