WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Chicago Mayor Offers Interviews Only to Reporters of Color

May 25, 2021

As WBBM Newsradio in Chicago reported, the city's mayor, Lori Lightfoot, is calling for more diversity among the news media who cover local government. She kicked off the discussion with a controversial move.

With Lightfoot’s two-year anniversary of mayor approaching, her office started offering one-on-one interviews, but only with reporters of color. 

In a written statement, Lightfoot pointed out that the city has a Black, lesbian mayor, a Latino city clerk, a Black treasurer, and a majority Black and Latino City Council, yet almost all of the reporters covering City Hall are white.

The National Association of Black Journalists called it a bold move and praised Lightfoot’s sensitivity to the lack of diversity among the reporters covering city hall. But the organization added it cannot support the tactic because of its commitment to universal diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Shop Talk is a weekly panel discussion about journalism issues.  This week’s program featured Will Buss, who teaches in the Department of Broadcasting and Journalism at Western Illinois University and advises the student editors at the Western Courier, the students at student radio station The Dog, and the WIU chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists; Rajvee Subramanian, who teaches in the Department of Broadcasting and Journalism at Western Illinois University; and TSPR News Director Rich Egger.

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