A tip sheet from Journalist’s Resource to help journalists think more deeply about how they select and cover stories.
When trendy areas adopt place names with deep roots, like L.A.’s “Eastside.”
When imprecise language confuses, conflates, and excludes.
“Coverage of Kate Spade’s Death Reveals Need for Media Diversity” | Columbia Journalism Review
- “Who is in the newsroom often determines what experiences are broad enough to be universalized in stories.”
“Covering College Student Homelessness and Food Insecurity: 7 Tips From Sara Goldrick-Rab” | Journalist’s Resource
- “The vast majority of college students don’t fit the image promoted by pop culture: someone who just finished high school, attends a four-year institution, has no children and lives on campus. Don’t perpetuate that stereotype.”
“If Americans Don’t Like the Word ‘Inequality’, Would ‘Fairness’ Be Better?” | Economic Hardship Reporting Project
- “The next time that we hear words like ‘inequality’ blotted out in our public discourse, we should start to reach for new language and frameworks to describe it.”
- In 2020, The Associated Press Stylebook began recommending “homeless people,” “people without housing,” or “people without homes.” Avoid “vagrant” and “derelict.”
“Missing the Story” | Columbia Journalism Review
- “The people who are most likely to appear in these kinds of stories are the least likely to have a say in how those stories are told.”
- “Avoid using phrases like ‘real job’ or ‘honest living,’ because all you’re doing is perpetuating discriminatory ideas about labor.”
- “Phrases like, ‘You’re dressed like a homeless person’ are offensive and perpetuate more negative ideas about homeless individuals.”
“Power of Pop: What TV Gets Wrong About Getting By” | The Opportunity Agenda
- Scripted TV programs can bring awareness to economic justice issues by “providing a larger vision of what the world could look like if we had real solutions in place.”
“Scrutinizing Language Is a Form of Classism” | NASPA, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education
- “In addition to the jargon and acronyms, we also tend to harbor expectations that people in higher education and student affairs will use and understand what I like to call ‘GRE words,’ or larger, more complex words that people often associate with being educated or professional.”
“3 Tips for Reporting on Rural Health” | Journalist’s Resource
- “Be specific about what you mean when you’re talking about rural: Is the area isolated? Far from a hospital? Sparsely populated?”
“Time to Retire the Word ‘Homeless’ and Opt for ‘Houseless’ or ‘Unhoused’ Instead?” | Architectural Digest
“What Is Food Insecurity?” | The Conversation
- Learn about the terms food insecurity, food swamp, food sovereignty, food justice, food desert, and food apartheid.
- “‘White trash’ could be called the Swiss army knife of insults. It’s deft in its ability to demean multiple groups at once: white people and people of color, poor people and people who ‘act’ like poor people, rural folks and religious folks, and anyone without a college degree.”