2016: Race, ethnicity and journalism ethics


No one should contemplate becoming a journalist without also contemplating the enormous power journalism wields and the critical role it has assumed in a democratic society.  That power takes many forms: The vital informational function journalism performs, its interpretive and opinion leadership function and, of  course, journalism’s watchdog function.  But inherently cutting across all of these is journalism’s power to shape what “reality” is to each of us.  Aside from the sliver of life we directly observe and experience, much, if not most, of what any of us knows about the world around us is a creation of the words and images that come to us directly or indirectly via journalism.

Today we attempt to dissect how journalism exercises – and should exercise – its power as it covers matters involving race and ethnicity.  We recognize that we are addressing a topic so far-reaching that we can tackle only a small portion.  Our keynote and two panels address the topic broadly – how are race and ethnicity portrayed and defined by the words and images used by the news media, and how can journalism do a better job of portraying and covering race?  Two other panels focus on more specific topics: journalistic coverage involving race and ethnicity in the contexts of education and criminal justice. We are hoping for a day of candid and insightful discussion.  And we are delighted that you have chosen to spend your day with us.

To find the live stream of today’s events, choose the current panel from schedule below.

8:50 Opening remarks
9 Keynote address
(not available for live streaming)
Nikole Hannah-Jones New York Times Magazine
10 Panel — Representing Race: Language, Imagery, Sources and Issues for Journalists Sue Robinson, moderator UW-Madison SJMC
Henry Sanders Madison365
Patty Loew UW-Madison Life Sciences Communication
Alan Gomez USA Today
11:15 Panel — Education Matters: Covering Racial Dynamics and Examining Journalism’s Role Rachelle Winkle-Wagner, moderator UW-Madison Education Leadership and Policy Analysis
Sue Robinson UW-Madison SJMC
Nikole Hannah-Jones New York Times Magazine
Lisa Gartner Tampa Bay Times
12:15 Lunch
12:45 Shadid award presentation Jack Mitchell, Shadid committee chair UW-Madison SJMC
Nada Shadid, award presenter
Robin McDowell Associated Press
Martha Mendoza Associated Press
1:45 Panel — Questions of Justice: Crime, Inequality and News Media Hemant Shah, moderator UW-Madison SJMC
Katy Culver UW-Madison SJMC
Mike Koval Madison Police Department
Matt Braunginn Young, Gifted and Black
Jaweed Kaleem Los Angeles Times
3:15 Plenary Session — Tomorrow’s Work: Moving Forward on Race and Journalism Keith Woods, moderator NPR
Maria Len-Rios University of Georgia
Brent Jones

Eric Von

USA Today

Precious Lives

4:30 Closing remarks


Full program book for Friday available here.

Registration information:

  • All students: Free
  • UW-Madison faculty: Free
  • Late registration: $25
  • Online registration is closed.
  • You can register at the door. Registration desks will be near the doors of Union South’s Varsity Rooms.
  • At-the-door registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and continues until 2 p.m.