The Open Society Institute-Baltimore and the Pratt Library are inviting the public to a discussion tomorrow evening about bias in how the media covers communities of Baltimore, reminding us again that public radio brings something different to the table. The way public radio covered the riot and uprising in Baltimore this spring is not the way cable TV covered it. But, let’s be realistic: society is probably shaped more by commercial media than non-profit media in the way it frames race, crime, poverty and inequality. The Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics says the duty of journalists is to “seek truth and provide a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.” When it comes to reporting on issues of race, have the media met that standard? To what extent are media unaware of their own bias?
Journalist Stacey Patton is one of the panelists who will be addressing those questions tomorrow at the Pratt. She’s a former reporter for the Baltimore Sun, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. She is now a columnist, writing about race for Dame Magazine, which describes itself as “For Women Who Know Better.” She’s also working on two books for Beacon Press. Sheilah reached her Friday, when she called from Atlanta, where she was moderating a panel for the centennial celebration of the ‘Association for the Life and Study of African American History.’