All journalists are taught to be silent on topics that are deemed controversial — to take a fair, balanced and unbiased approach to reporting. Although these factors of journalistic reporting remain true, there comes a time where journalists need to look at themselves in the mirror and decide to take a stand on basic human rights movements.
For a journalist to speak up and support the Black Lives Matter movement or to tweet out the hashtag #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd is not a radical, biased statement — it’s one recognizing systematic oppression toward the Black community and helping to make more people aware of that longtime oppression.
Journalists have the wonderful opportunity to give a voice to the oppressed and tell the stories of those who can’t tell their own. In that regard, it’s more clear than ever that speaking out and making our voices heard is the most journalistic thing we can do at this time in the world. You can be a journalist, and you can also be supportive of the BLM movement and basic human rights for the Black community. The two are not mutually exclusive.
Furthermore, The Post and its current editorial leadership are well aware of the diversity issues that we have faced in the past as a publication. As a majority white executive office, we realize that we have a responsibility to recognize our racial privilege and use our voices for change and betterment. We have a responsibility to not only the Black community, but to the Black individuals who work for The Post.
As a publication, we strive to produce diverse content for our readers, and that can only happen with diverse voices. Every staff member of The Post is vital to our success as a media outlet, and as an executive office, we aim to hear out any and all ideas from the people who make us who we are. That being said, we stand in solidarity with not only the Black community, but Black journalists and their fight for justice.
We recognize that staying silent and unbiased toward problems the Black community faces every day is not the answer. In a time where being Black and being a journalist goes deeper than the story, reporting on injustices that have personally affected their lives, we at The Post support all Black journalists. Black storytelling is essential in accurately portraying Black communities as well as making newsroom environments more inclusive as a whole, which is something every publication should aspire to create.
In addition, we as Post executive editors shouldn’t put anyone on our staff in the position of choosing between journalistic ethics or supporting one’s community. Hearing and recognizing the voices of the Black community paired with white individuals acknowledging their privilege and educating themselves and others is the first step to eradicating the long-standing systematic oppression throughout our country’s history.
Although this topic is deemed highly sensitive for most individuals, we as a society, especially white individuals, must go deeper than merely expressing our support and solidarity for such movements and people via social media. We must take action.
There are laws and systems in our society today that build upon centuries of exploitation and oppression. This movement goes much deeper than one person in one city. In order to move forward, certain policies must be repealed or implemented, and hearts and minds must change. Black boxes on Instagram are a small step for some but definitely not enough.
We as journalists recognize the gravity of the stories we share. Every quote, article and interview is more than a simple collection of informative words and sentences.
Journalists are the storytellers of the modern era. Every major event comes with an unforgettable headline. Today’s headline is simple: Black lives matter.
Editorials represent the majority opinion of The Post's executive editors: Editor-in-Chief Molly Schramm, Managing Editor Baylee DeMuth and Digital Managing Editor Matthew Geiger. Post editorials are independent of the publication's news coverage.