Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Just "women"

We do some knuckleheaded things in the paper -- mainly because we're a bunch of imperfect humans.

Today was one of those times.

We wrote a story about a wreck in which two women were injured. We identified the pair as "black women."

Sometimes race is relevant to stories, but most of the time it is not. This time, race wasn't relevant at all.

We discussed this in the newsroom and there was total agreement, even by the reporter on the story, who covers the police/emergency beat for us and is a fine reporter.

So, how did it happen?

The explanation is simple: Cops reporters are in a mode of trying to squeeze every detail out of stories -- usually they are right on deadline and every morsel can add to the story. Sometimes, though, when writing non-crime stories, they forget to shift gears. That is what happened in this case.

Still, it shouldn't have. Race had no place in this story and we apologize for interjecting it where it didn't belong.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

thank you for taking responsibility for the error. it should not have been part of the story, but i commend you for owning up to it as soon as possible.

Anonymous said...

Amazing how the use of one's race sometimes stands out like a sore thumb. You stepped up and showed your "leadership" by apologizing. Good for you.

Pizazz

Anonymous said...

This was just another sign of the weakness the Star seems to have. It appears that the Cop beat reporter is more interested in the little facts that a dog bites a store robbery suspect with a long history of crime, or the fact that a taser was used after a traffic stop uncovers drugs and weapons.

We ask our Law Enforcement folks to help keep Shelby safe and we need to support them. Would either of these cases been better if a 9MM weapon had been fired ? Either of the means saved the suspects life and possiably the Officers.

Alex said...

Kudos for taking responsibilty.As black female I was offended as I often am when read something like this in the paper. One's race should not have been a factor. I have never seen caucasian referenced in the manner.

Anonymous said...

What difference does is make? I am a white male. I didn't complain when the Star printed the meeting of the "Black" Woman's Club meeting. I thought it was the "Woman's Club" why interject race into it? Could you imagine the outrage if a meeting of the "White Woman's Club" had been printed. Maybe I should do what all the other race baiters are doing and show up at the next meeting of the "Black" Woman's Club. I wonder if I can join? If they say no is it racist or sexist, or both. What's good for one should be good for all. I don't have a "white history month", or a "white entertainment network", but I'm not complaining. Thanks again Skip for caving in.

Anonymous said...

Yeah what about Ms. Ebonite, the Negro Womans Club, Black Achievers. I've never seen caucasions referenced in this manner either.

Skip Foster said...

The Negro Women's Club is the name of the club. If you object to that name being used, your issue is with the club, obviously. We interjected race into the wreck story as opposed to simply reporting the name of an organization. Apples and oranges.

Anonymous said...

I'm guess I'm just making a statement about the hypocrisy. Would the Star print a meeting of the "White Man's Club"? Maybe you should remove all names which use race as a description. Really, what difference did printing the story with race in it make?

Anonymous said...

Why state the type of car? Why print their age? I see stories such as "Two teenagers injured in SUV accident". Why not say Two people injured in a vehicle accident". Did is really make much difference? If you can't reference race in an article then you shouldn't be able to reference any other particulars either.

Anonymous said...

Why can't we also have Ms. Ivory? Why can't we have the "White Achievers Award"? Huh? If someone started these would you print a story about them and present them in a neutral or good light?

Skip Foster said...

Taking those last three in order ...

The difference is, WE chose to interject the race into the story rather than simply reporting the name of an organization, as would be the case with the Negro Women's Club. If there was a White Women's Club, I know of no reason why we wouldn't refer to it by its name.

Regarding teens vs race, being young is something that could play a factor in a wreck -- being Hispanic or white or black isn't.

Lastly, if a group with "White" in their name met, I know of no reason why we wouldn't identify them as such.

Anonymous said...

we do some knucklehead things at the paper...ummm

never truer words spoken

Paige said...

Skip, can I just say how MUCH I appreciate the way you conduct yourself?! Talk about people trying to squeeze orange juice from an apple!? The #1 reason I come to this website is to read your blog. Thanks for continuing to work at such an incredible level of integrity. We are a blessed community indeed to have you at the helm of our newspaper.

Anonymous said...

In reference to what differece does it make?...Thank you skip for being educated enough to realize... it is all in a name not a title... though many bear names of race in its title, it does not mean one is exzempt...however the name KKK does suggest race in its name ... but one clearly understand who would not be offered a seat at its table...

Anonymous said...

2:42--There are exemptions. Can a white child win the black achievers award? Would there be a problem then if there were a white achievers award that allowed only white children to win? Can a white woman win Ms. Ebonite award? See how racist these awards are in a time when we supposedly are trying to eliminate racism. I agree with folks above. Why have a black history month and no white history month, or hispanic history month. Anglo-Saxons have the same right to be proud of their racial heritage without having to be made to feel somehow ashamed for something no one alive today had anything to do with. Every culture and every race has been victimized as some point in history. It's time for the knee-jerk reactions to stop. So what if the article identified race. I don't care what anyone says it makes no difference. Does the make of car matter? Nobody would complain if you printed that. It seems some of the most racist folks are the first ones who will cry racism at anything innocent thing. It's time to get over it.

Anonymous said...

"Years ago people who supported racial segregation and discrimination were called racist. Now people who oppose racial segregation and discrimination are called racist."----Mike Adams

How True

Anonymous said...

Nobody has anything to say now after being destroyed with common sense and logic.