I don’t have the numbers in terms of how many Asians work in newsrooms, but there’s still an obviously deficit. And you see it playing out in awkward or uneven coverage of stories such as the rise in hate crimes against Asians. Fixing the problem of diversity in newsrooms is actually really simple: hire diverse candidates. There’s not much beyond that.
I believe that most journalists and newsrooms are well-meaning, but without constant reflection, we’ll continue to make the same mistakes over and over.
What do you hope the audience learned from the event?
I’m not sure what they learned from the event. But, I just hope that Asian journalists came away knowing that there is a big community and sources of support for them. And this is especially important to know if you are a student just starting out in the field.
Historically, do you think biases in reporting have impacted how Asian communities are viewed in the United States? If so, how?
Absolutely. As I said, I think most journalists are well-meaning. They want to represent facts, people, communities accurately and fairly. But, we all come from different backgrounds and perspectives, so it’s inevitable that biases arise in how we staff our newsrooms and how we tell stories about different communities.
Why is it important to discuss Asian perspectives in journalism?
Journalism, and specifically our current industry, makes mistakes. We make assumptions about whole groups of people based on race. I see this all the time in political stories. You’ll see headlines like “Asians likely to vote this way.” That would be like saying “All white people vote this way.” It’s completely crazy.
We can always do better. We need to hire more diverse reporters and journalists—not to tick some weird DEI box and feel good about ourselves. But reporters bring with them their lived experiences and the more diverse a newsroom you have, the more viewpoints each story can be viewed from. And doing better requires self-reflection and understanding that our fair and equitable representation of Asian perspectives in the newsroom is vital for our industry to succeed.