Diversity Style Guide
Congratulations to Rachele Kanigel, associate professor of journalism at San Francisco State University, for the launch of a new diversity style guide for journalists.

The guide is filled with contemporary definitions and is well organized, listing terms alphabetically and by area. More than 700 terms are included. The guide revives one created at San Francisco State’s Center for the Integration and Improvement of Journalism in the 1990s. Its latest update had been in 2002. This update was needed.

The guide is intended for journalists but can be used by anyone, of course.

The Michigan State Journalism School is proud to have supported the project by allowing Kanigel to use content from our student-produced Bias Busters series (10 guides and counting) for about 100 items. The project draws in information from a dozen other guides, as well.

Easy way to learn a complicated story

In the Bias Busters series, we try to answer the natural questions that people have about each other. Some questions seem simple, some clearly are not. Now, we con sider making videos to tell stories about some of the most complicated questions.

In “100 Questions and Answers About African Americans,” one of the complicated questions had to do with the wealth disparity between Black and White families. There are so many reasons for this they did not fit well into one answer. So, Michigan State student Madeline Carino used her video production skills to make this motion graphic for the guide.

African Americans guide is available

By Joe Grimm

“100 Questions and Answers About African Americans” is out and available in print and digital formats.

Michigan State university students created this guide against the backdrop of protests about racial equity on our campus and dozens of others.

This is our largest guide so far and it includes multimedia. There are videos about Black hair and Black fraternities and sororities. There are several graphics and our first motion graphic, which explains the reasons for wealth disparity.

Next, we will come out with “100 Questions and Answers About American Jews.” We are aiming for March.

Coming for Black History Month

Our next guide, “100 Questions and Answers About African Americans,” is in the proofing stage and we are working to get it out for Black History Month.

The guide was written in the fall semester as racial demonstrations occurred in American cities and on scores of campuses. The guide will help people understand what those demonstrations are about and the long root that led to them.

The guide answers questions about Black and African American identity, history, language, contributions and several other subjects.

It busts some myths.

And, for the first time in the series, it includes student-produced videos and a motion graphic to help tell the story.

6 ways Silicon Valley can build diverse talent pipeline

Illustration of multiethnic people working at a conference tableMBy Joe Grimm

A USA Today analysis of employment data from companies such as Facebook and Google shows that the lack of African-American and Hispanic workers is not just a pipeline problem.

The scarcity shows up in non-technical jobs, too, where pipelines would not be the issue. In any case, the tech companies lag other industries, which face the same hiring dynamics but do a better job.

Tech companies in California, which in 2014 became a state with so much diversity that it no longer has a racial/ethnic majority, can prove their concern. If Silicon Valley can’t build such a pipeline with that, who can? Here are six ways to do it:

* Look locally. The pipeline starts right outside the companies’ campuses. Start recruiting and coaching early. Don’t wait until workers develop skills elsewhere and then import them. A strategy that leaves the work to others is parasitic and creates drains, not pipelines.
Continue reading “6 ways Silicon Valley can build diverse talent pipeline”

Fall reading list includes Bias Busters series

Diverse reading list for fall includes Bias Busters, book about Bill Cosby and one by Charles Blow.

Thank you to Richard Prince of Journal-isms for listing our series as a best bet in his fall reading list.

Prince writes for the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education and regularly reports on issues affecting the media and news consumers.

Some of his other picks for fall include “Cosby: His Life and Times” (video trailer above), Charles Blow’s “Fire Shut Up in My Bones” and Charles E. Cobbs’ “This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible.”

‘White is the new black’ trips over culture, context

A “White is the new Black” T-shirt is being denounced in the United States as racist. The objections come during violent protests in Ferguson, Missouri, over the police killing of an unarmed black teenager. The shirt was made by Zara, a Spanish clothing retailer.

Missing from the debate is that this expression has been used before, including with a drawing of actress Betty White. Zara has been silent about the backlash, but people speculate it is a play on “Orange is the New Black” that just doesn’t play well in the United States and especially not with racial tensions in Ferguson as a backdrop. There is no doubt the shirt was created before the Aug. 9 Ferguson killing, but people are saying that the shirt reflects a racist mindset.

The expression is not new. Previous uses, including on T-shirts, did not produce the same reaction.

Until Zara fills in some blanks, we won’t know what the thinking was or when the shirt came out. But we already have at least two lessons:
* Phrases, gestures and other signs mean different things in different cultures
* People will interpret them not just through their culture, but through their personal lenses.
Both can change the meanings.