Reporting on Class and Race

One of the goals of the Center for Working-Class Studies is to encourage increased and improved media coverage of working-class issues. This index is one piece of that work. This site offers an overview and annotated index of news stories that discuss the intersection between class and race. The listing includes hypertext links, where available, or directions for how to find the articles if they are on sites requiring passwords.

This analysis will be updated periodically and will serve as a basis for future work by the Center. Currently, most of the articles in the database deal with issues surrounding Hurricane Katrina. We have been studying that coverage for lessons it provides for the journalism profession. Over time, the database will be expanded to include other articles covering issues of class and race in general.

Please feel free to use any of the material, and send us suggestions for additions. If you have comments about any of the stories or analysis, please e-mail them to our media specialist, Alyssa Lenhoff .

 

What's here:

Introduction

Patterns of coverage related to class and race

Index of articles about class and race (organized chronologically)

Index of articles about the coverage of Hurricane Katrina (organized chronologically)

 

Introduction

Our preliminary examination of newspaper coverage reveals that reporters are more likely to cover race and class issues when stories involve multiple deaths, crime, government funding or government programs, and people who manage to overcome major adversity. Issues of class also appear in stories about art- or literature-related projects.

Day-to-day coverage of issues involving race and class has been scarce in major metropolitan newspapers and even rarer in papers that serve suburban areas in recent years. Editors defend coverage decisions by suggesting that the issues that appear on the front pages are also ones that affect the poor and the working class. They argue that they cover entire communities and do not serve any particular race or class. These explanations reflect what appear to be deep disconnections between the lives of many newspaper editors and reporters and the people of their communities.

Discussions of race and class have been appearing more in mainstream newspapers and other periodicals in the months after Hurricane Katrina ravaged Louisiana . The state's poorest residents, most of whom are African-American, were affected the most. General, non-Katrina stories, are analyzed just below and the stories that discuss Katrina are chronicled at the bottom.

This project is a part of a larger look at race and class issues in the media that the Center for Working Class Studies has launched. The Center is planning a one-day conference, "Lessons from Katrina: What Journalists Can Learn From the Storm," for fall 2006 to examine the effects of Hurricane Katrina on press coverage of working-class issues. More details about this conference will be posted as they become available. If you have ideas that you'd like to share about this conference or if you'd like to participate, please e-mail Alyssa Lenhoff .

 

Patterns of Coverage Related to Class and Race

Many articles that touch on issues of class and race can be categorized into one of five types of stories:

Distance Stories - These articles discuss issues affecting working class people without talking to or obtaining information from working class people. Instead, these articles rely on officials or statistics to relate facts about working class people.

Success Stories - These articles typically feature the story of a person who has overcome poverty or hard luck to "make good" in society. Often, the stories will focus on educational or financial accomplishments of the individual. These stories are deemed newsworthy because they fit the notion of the unexpected. In other words, no one anticipated that this person would do well. When the person does "succeed" it is deemed newsworthy. This type of story fits the classic "man bites dog" paradigm in news judgment.

Solution Stories - These stories cover programs or efforts intended to address some of the problems plaguing working class people.

Sanitized Stories - These articles do not include details that allow people to see, hear and feel a certain situation. They use jargon and sterile terms instead of details which truly allow readers direct insight into a situation.

Truth-Seeking Stories - These articles attempt to address real problems without couching them in comfortable and veiled jargon.

 

Index of Articles About Class and Race

Here you'll find information on a selection of stories dealing with race and class, from newspapers in and around New Orleans, during the year before Hurricane Katrina. Stories are organized according to their category and then, chronologically.

 

 

Distance Stories:

February 21, 2005. The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La. Keywords used to locate this article in Lexis Nexis were "race, class, African-American."

This story describes how a group of aspiring writers gathers in a gym each month and how many of the essays and poems discuss God, racism and poverty. But the story never quotes any of the essays or poems. Like so many other stories dealing with issues of race and class, this article keeps a real distance from anything concrete or human.

July 26, 2004. The New Orleans City Business. "Poverty Blamed for Louisiana's Teen Pregnancy Problem." Keywords used to locate this article in Lexis Nexis were: poverty, African American, Louisiana .

This article discusses how Louisiana 's teenage birth rate has deviated from the national trend. While the teenage birth rate in the U.S. was at a record low in 2002, the number of teenage girls in Louisiana giving birth had not decreased. In fact, it ranked as the state with the seventh most births to teenage moms. Experts ascribed the high birth rate to problems with funding health care. The 778-word story does not include any comments from teenage mothers; instead it emphasizes statistical data on birth rates, opinions from the alleged experts, and comments from a woman who filed a documentary about teenage mothers.

May 4, 2004. The Times-Picayune. "Nagin Sharpens his Focus on Crime, Education; Mayor says N.O. Social Problems Priorities for Second Half of Term." Keywords to locate this article in Lexis Nexis were poverty, African-American and class.

The article, which appeared on the front page of the newspaper, is little more than a collection of pledges and promises from the mayor of New Orleans, Ray Nagin. Nagin describes problems in his city: "Like most urban centers in the United States, we have people who are living well, people who have high hopes, people who make a good living, and whose children attend classes in good schools. On the other hand, we have far too many people who live in run-down neighborhoods, without jobs, without hopes or dreams." Nagin mentions a girl he visited in the hospital who had been shot by a stray bullet. "To that 8-year-old girl, her mother and the other victims of senseless violence that plagues our community, I promise--I promise to make this city safer for all of you to play, to go to school, to grow up, to have a family of your own some day." Neither that girl, her family nor anyone else is quoted in the story.

November 17, 2002. The Times Picayune. "To Live and Die in La." Keywords used to locate this article in Lexis Nexis were: race, class, African-American.

This story is a book review of All Saints Day , written by a Louisiana native who details the lives and family tragedies of citizens in a community. By reporting about what is in the book, the writer of the newspaper story addresses some issues of race and class, but it is through a filter of another person's work.

April 4, 1997. The Times Picayune. "Black and White. Aesthetics and Personal Perspectives Shape the Pictures of Harlem on View at Tulane." Keywords used to locate this article in Lexis Nexis were "race, class, African-American".

This article describes touring art displays of Harlem. These displays explain how Harlem has been a beacon for the black middle class, an emblem of poverty, a home for the arts and a haven from racism. The art displays become a distanced and safe vehicle through which issues of class and race could be discussed. This article typifies the distance kind of approach to reporting.

February 19, 1996. The Times-Picayune. "Divided More by Class than Color." Keywords to locate this article in Lexis Nexis were: race, class and poverty.

An example of distance reporting on issues of race, class or poverty, this column attempts to examine the huge issue of loss of hope in an Atlanta housing project. The columnist focuses the story around a tutoring session for girls: "Most of the girls live in one of Atlanta's most notorious public housing projects--notorious not for the material poverty of its residents, but rather, for their poverty of the spirit, as evidenced by the number of shootings, stabbings, 30-year-old grandmothers and street-corner drug deals which characterize the place. These tutorings are an attempt to light a candle in the darkness that surrounds East Lake Meadows." The prose is quite lovely, but there are few or no specifics to support the broad generalizations that the columnist makes.

 

Success Stories:

May 17, 2004. The Times-Picayune. "Against All Odds." Keywords used to locate this article in Lexis Nexis were: poverty, African American, Louisiana .

As the headline implies, this article fits the category of a "success story"--a person who overcame what the reporter deemed to be adversity. It tells about the struggles of Algernon Kelley, a man who grew up amidst poverty and crime, lost his mother, but ultimately graduated from college. This type of poor-boy-does-well kind of story is extremely common in newspapers and represents one of few kinds of stories that describe the specific struggles of class and race.

 

Sanitized Stories:

November 15, 2004. The Times-Picayune. "Battered Tallowtree Grieves anew at Killings." Keywords to locate this article in Lexis Nexus were: poverty, African-American, class.

This story chronicles life in one neighborhood suffering from poverty, crime and despair. The article talks about how three generations of a family were nearly wiped out when a man killed his girlfriend, her mother, her 11 year-old brother and their 1 year-old child. The article continues to talk about other major disasters that have rocked the neighborhood. The article never interviews any residents of the neighborhood and instead quotes interviews that an agency conducted in the neighborhood.

August 22, 2000. Associated Press. "Poverty, Crime go Hand in Hand with Black Incarceration Rate." Keywords to locate this article in Lexis Nexis were: race and class.

This article quotes a Louisiana state senator who was discussing the issue of the imprisonment of African-American men. "The black community is locked in poverty, the school dropout rate is high and drug trafficking is lucrative," Senator Lambert Boissiere told the reporter. Drugs were cited as the major problem. "It's a product that can be marketed with no education. Drugs are available. People want to use them." Like so many other stories that merely touch on the surface of an issue, this story does not include any interviews with any inmates or any in-depth reporting about the true problems and picture.

 

Solution Stories:

June 12, 2005. The Times-Picayune. "Marrero camp brings out teens' creativity; Community service is part of the fun." Keywords to locate this article in Lexis Nexis were: poverty, class, race, Louisiana .

Without talking to or at least quoting any participants, this 577-word story describes a program intended to address poverty in certain neighborhoods. The story is included as an example of how reporting of issues of poverty and class is often incredibly sterile.

January 13, 2005. The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La. "Holden says Addressing BR Poverty High on Agenda for Next Four Years." Keywords to locate this article in Lexis Nexis were: poverty, class, race, Louisiana .

As this article exemplifies, many stories that mention class, race or poverty discuss programs that officials say will address problems. This article focuses on pledges from Baton Rouge Mayor-President Kip Holden. "There is a segment of this parish that's yearning for help, that's reaching out and looking for people to step out, not with a handout, but a hand," Holden says in the article. The article does not quote any residents or people who are targeted for help.

November 23, 1998. The Times-Picayune. "Voice for Working Poor." Keywords to locate this article in Lexis Nexis were: race, class, poverty.

This column talks about how those living in poverty or those classified as working class are often hidden from society. The story offers a few statistics and mentions how Jesse Jackson could be the spokesman for such issues if he were seeking the presidency. The column never offers any specific information and merely repeats stereotypes that have been used to describe the poor.

April 11, 1998. The Times-Picayune. "Coalition to Study Metro Problems." Keywords to locate this article in Lexis Nexis were: race, class and poverty.

Using the sanitized term, "poverty," this article discusses how officials want to draft a plan to address how to improve neighborhoods in New Orleans . Former Albuquerque , N.M. Mayor David Rusk was going to serve as the chief consultant on the project. Rusk, author of the book Cities Without Suburbs, works to alleviate community divisions around race and class. The article never identifies what specific problems are being targeted and uses only sanitized and clinical terms to address issues.

 

Truth-Seeking Stories:

February 20, 2004. The Times Picayune. "Progress is Painfully Slow." Keywords to locate this article in Lexis Nexis were: race and class.

This column, printed on the editorial page, addresses a wide range of issues, including the key role that education plays in preventing crime and poverty: "New Orleans is in trouble. Many of the city's black neighborhoods are plagued by violence, and arrest records indicate that most of the people booked into Orleans Parish Prison have illegal drugs in their system at the time. The number of black people living below the poverty line is appalling, but it seems all but inevitable when you consider the difficulties many have had in obtaining a good education." Unlike so many other sterile reports exploring issues of crime, poverty, class and race, this editorial breaks through the buzz words and catch phrases that dominate so many other stories.

 

Articles on Coverage of Race and Class Issues Raised by Hurricane Katrina

December 15, 2005. The New York Review of Books. "The Enemy Within." Michael Massing.

In this article, Massing takes aim at current trends in the profession of journalism and concludes that Katrina coverage could signal a positive change for the future of reporting. "For many reporters, the bold coverage of the effects of the hurricane, and of the administration's glaring failure to respond effectively, has helped to begin making up for their timid reporting on the existence of Weapons of Mass Destruction," Massing writes. He says that some reporters are now feeling "pride" about their profession instead of "shame." He says that he has noticed a change in how reporters are conducting themselves. "Journalists have been asking more pointed questions at press conferences, attempting to investigate cronyism and corruption in the White House and Congress, and doing more to document the plight of people without jobs or a place to live," he writes. Massing asks the critical question, however: "Will such changes prove lasting?" He then proceeds to explain what must happen in order for these changes to stick.

December 14, 2005. The Daily Sundial. "Women vs. Race: Media's Image not Reflected in CSUN Students' Realities." Michael Sullivan.

This article profiles a young African-American college student trying to battle stereotypes about her race and gender. In the article, the woman discusses the differences in how the media portrayed African-Americans and whites who were victims of Katrina. The woman says that the media always used pictures of African-Americans to illustrate the looting that they alleged was going on, but pictures of white people were used to show the search for food.

December 12, 2005. The Times-Picayune. "A Man of the Moment."Coleman Warner.

This profile of Norman Francis, president of Xavier University and chair of the New Orleans group that is charged with leading disaster recovery, addresses Francis' concerns about race and class divisions.

December 12, 2005. The Times-Picayune. "Evacuees of Hurricane Katrina Resettle Along a Racial Divide." Tomas Alex Tizom and Doug Smith.

This article offers a simple analysis of where evacuees settled after the Hurricane. Experts quoted in the article conclude that many of the flood victims may be better off out of New Orleans--long known for its deep racial and class divides.

December 2005. Reasononline. Cathy Young. "No, This is the Story of the Hurricane."

Cathy Young, who serves as a regular columnist for The Boston Globe, says that the lessons from Katrina will be meaningless unless people allow truth to permeate their already held beliefs. She says that people are taking away from Katrina information that already supports what they believe instead of looking at the facts for truths.

December 12, 2005. Los Angeles Times.com. Thomas Alex Tizon and Doug Smith. "Evacuees of Hurricane Katrina Resettle Along a Racial Divide."

This article examines where evacuees of Hurricane Katrina have moved. "A Times analysis of address changes after the hurricane also highlights the metropolitan area's sharp distinctions of class and race," the article says. "Poor blacks from the city were more likely to land farther away in places much different from home. In many cases, those evacuees stayed wherever government-chartered buses or planes stopped." Researchers say that many of the poor evacuees may find life better in other communities. A Tulane University sociology professor, James Elliott, says New Orleans more than any other large American city is a "place of concentrated poverty where schools and social agencies perform poorly and where a large number of residents seem stuck in a cycle of poverty that goes back generations/"

December 1, 2005. The American Journalism Review. Brian Thevenot.

Brian Thevenot, a reporter for the New Orleans' Times-Picayune, covered the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and then wrote his assessment of his and other reporters' work in this American Journalism Review article. Thevenot explained how he and others wrongly reported widespread looting and raging violence among the evacuees and flood victims. Thevenot himself wrote stories saying that bodies were stacked 30 and 40 high in freezers. He also blindly accepted other reports, including one that alleged that a 7 year-old girl was killed by someone who slit her throat. Thevenot says he retold the story in the American Journalism Review not to deflect blame, but instead to show how myths got reported as fact in the days after Katrina. He concludes that the reporting might have been dramatically different had the people accused of the looting and crimes been white instead of African-American.

December 1, 2005. TheBardObserver. "French Riots Expose Racial Fault Lines, Ignorance and Hypocrisy." Travis Wentworth.

Columnist Travis Wentworth blasts the French media for how it covered Katrina and its aftermath. "While the American media tended to focus more simply on the facts and logistical implications of the damage, the French media was more inclined to spotlight the U.S. hegemon's Achilles heel: the neglected lower class, and the invisible race barriers that still exist within the borders of the bastion of freedom, democracy and prosperity," Wentworth writes. Wentworth acknowledges that these problems do plague the United States , but he says that the French media's handling of the coverage was condescending and inappropriate.

November 30, 2005. Bayoubuzz.com. "New Orleans: Race, Class and Repopulation." Steve Sabludowsky.

Commentator Steve Sabludowsky raises critical questions about race and class in the Katrina aftermath. The point of his opinion piece is well summarized by a quote in his article from New Orleans City Councilwoman Cynthia Willard Lewis: "Those who once fought for equal access to education and public facilities may be forced to fight for equal access to relief and restoration." Sabludowsky says that race is playing a huge role in the rebuilding effort and that it--undeniably--played a critical role in the disaster in the first place. "There is no doubt that some individuals do not want a large African American or even large poor white population to return to New Orleans. ...Whether they are motivated by racism or class discrimination (or both) is difficult to say and their true feelings might depend upon the actual emotions of the individuals," he writes.

November 30, 2005. The News Record of the University of Cincinnati. "Poverty, Race Still Big Problem." Mary Kate Moran. 

Student editorial writer Mary Kate Moran, who was attending the University of Cincinnati at the time that she wrote this opinion piece, concludes that Katrina exposed the deep racial and economic divides in our country. Moran explains that even President Bush acknowledged the poverty and racism that has plagued the area. Bush admitted that there is a link between racism and poverty. "These are bold statements for someone whose political party doesn't usually associate race and poverty," she writes. Moran urges the media to maintain its watch. "If Americans aren't reminded of the discrimination, and reminded often, it's easy to forget. Discrimination goes unchecked, leaving people like the black residents of the Gulf region without help," she writes.

November 29, 2005. Coloradoan.com. Eric Freed. "Hurricane Aftermath Nets Wave of Bad Policy."

In a guest commentary, author Eric Freed blasts Republicans for using the Katrina disaster to embrace philosophies that he argues they have long opposed. Freed says the media has a responsibility to out them for the hypocrisy

September 21, 2005. The Washington Post. "Discovering Poverty Again." Keywords used to locate this editorial in Lexis Nexis were: race, class and poverty.

This editorial attempts to tackle a definition of poverty and offers an analysis about what the country is doing to address it. Prompted by the national outcry concerning the images of poor people abandoned in New Orleans in the wake of Katrina, the Washington Post editorial writers reminded the nation that poverty has been "discovered" before. The editorial reminded readers about Michael Harrington's classic The Other America from 1962 and Lyndon Johnson's "war on Poverty." Then, the editorial lashes out at journalists and others who are making sweeping generalizations about poverty based on the aftermath of Katrina. "The leap from Katrina to broad generalizations about poverty involves considerable simplification," the editorial says.

September 21, 2005. San Antonio Express-News. "Now Let us Gather to tell the Legends of Surviving the Hurricane." Cary Clark . Keywords to locate this article in Lexis Nexis were: hurricane, journalism and reporters.

This article discusses how Katrina reporting has awakened people's consciousness to issues such as poverty, race and class. "These stories will have greater resonance and power when those directly affected by Katrina reflect and then take the time to put pen to paper and express themselves in unfiltered voices," Clark writes.

September 20, 2005. Copley News Service. "What has Become Visible: A Matter of Fairness." Keywords to locate this article in Lexis Nexis were: poverty, journalism, reporters.

Journalists are waking up to issues of poverty, race and class, according to this article. Prompted by Katrina, experts quoted in this story are saying that it sometimes takes a natural disaster to reveal a social disaster. "Usually, there's not a lot of interest in issues of poverty except when there's something dramatic. By and large, the poor are simply out of sight, out of mind," says Dan Carter, a historian quoted in this article.

September 18, 2005. The New York Times. "Other Voices: Were Readers Prepared for the Hurricane?" Keywords to locate this article in Lexis Nexis were: poverty, hurricane, class.

This brief letter to the editor concludes that Americans have come to accept poverty as a normal state of affairs in America. "Hurricane Katrina ripped the lid off that ugly secret and exposed us for all the world to see. The anguishing gap between our ideals and the realities of our society are now known by all," Steve Grooms writes in his letter to the editor.

September 13, 2005. Telegraph Herald, Dubuque, Iowa. "Some Reporters Transform Selves into Judge, Jury; TV Reporters, Especially, Cross the Line while Covering Katrina." Keywords to locate this article in Lexis Nexis were: hurricane, journalism and reporters

Brian Cooper, a columnist for the Telegraph Herald argues that reporters broke a sacred commandment--objectivity--in the midst and aftermath of Katrina. "There has been some excellent reporting on this monstrous event. ... Unfortunately, there are also the journalists who used the disaster to give themselves permission to stop reporting and start editorializing," Cooper writes.

September 11, 2005. Newsday. "Hopeful Things can Emerge in even the Grimmest Catastrophes." Keywords to locate this article in Lexis Nexis were: hurricane, journalism and reporters.

This opinion piece written by a communication and media studies professor addresses news coverage during Katrina: "And the news media stepped up to speak for the battered and their needs. Anchors and reporters, commentators and news analysts, 24/7 cable and network evening newscasts all joined a chorus that gave crucial voice to the dispossessed." Paul Levinson argues in this editorial that journalists had to violate the rules of objectivity to perform this type of coverage: "Before our eyes, they switched from reporters to public advocates." Levinson says that reporters showed "refreshing, desperately needed, righteous outrage." Levinson asks a critical question: "But if the journalists' outrage and advocacy can serve our society well during a natural disaster, ought we to encourage more emotion and involvement from our anchors and reporters on a regular basis?" Levinson concludes that objectivity and detachment is necessary for many stories, but that reporters must invoke their basic human instincts to scream and yell in urgent situations.

September 11, 2005. The New York Times. P. Wk 14. "Covering New Orleans: The Decade Before the Storm."

The public editor of the New York Times concludes that the nation's most respected and trusted newspaper has failed the public by not alerting it to the massive problems in New Orleans in the years before the hurricane. "The New York Times assumes a responsibility to alert its readers to significant problems as they emerge in major cities such as New Orleans. Poverty so pervasive that it hampered evacuation would seem to have been worthy of the Times's attention before it emerged as a pivotal challenge two weeks ago. And the inadequacies of the levee system deserved to be brought to the attention of readers more clearly long before the storm hit." In this opinion piece, the public editor quotes a reader: "I was surprised to learn of the poverty conditions that prevailed in New Orleans . Why didn't the economic-social-racial conditions in New Orleans get some attention in the paper? The Times let us down." The editor agrees with his reader. The editor's search of "substantive" Times news articles about New Orleans between September 1995 and September 2005 turned up two articles that mention issues of poverty and race. Both articles are features about the city and they contain only few paragraphs about poverty or race. Not one story was found dealing with poverty or racism on their own. Coverage of problems with levees was equally as sparse.

September 5, 2005. The Washington Post. "The Daily Crush of Poverty, Strong as any Storm." Keywords to locate this article in Lexis Nexis were: flood, hurricane, class, poverty.

Katrina's damage has prompted journalists to take a new look at the poor. The reporter who wrote this article talked to a man who lives in Washington about his life, Hurricane Katrina and how he and others of similar economic and class backgrounds are represented in the media. "In this world, it's who has money and who don't," Brackett told the reporter. Brackett says the biggest outrage of Hurricane Katrina was not the lack of help in the hours and days after the flood, but the widespread willingness to ignore the poverty that made so many vulnerable to the hurricane in the first place. "At any rate, national attention to such matters probably will be short-lived. The plight of the poor often is easier to ignore when so many others appear to be doing well," the article says.

October 26, 2005. In These Times. "Missing the Katrina Moment." Susan J. Douglas.

Douglas, a communications professor at the University of Michigan, argues that Katrina should be a defining moment for Democrats. She says that issues of deep divisions between the classes can no longer remain hidden and can no longer be ignored.

October 21, 2005. MediaRights.org. "Independent Filmmakers Respond to Katrina." Angela Tucker.

Tucker asks why the victims of Hurricane Katrina were largely unknown to the public before the disaster. She also asks several critical questions: "Can we trust consolidated media to accurately and fairly represent folks without money and power? As the lengthy recovery and rebuilding process begins, to whom can we turn for in-depth critical reporting?"

October 19, 2005. Philly.com. "Getting the Dialogue on Race Unstuck." Linda S. Wallace.

Wallace discusses how Katrina has awakened consciousness to issues of race and class and suggests that it is now time to capture that dialogue into meaningful action.

October 16, 2005. The Hartford Courant. "Disasters Change People, for a While." Susan Campbell.

Columnist Susan Campbell says that she is not too hopeful that lessons learned in Katrina about journalism will have much--if any--lasting impact.

October 14, 2005. Mediachannel.org. "Keeping the Light on Injustice." Danny Schechter.

Schechter discusses an experience he had in upstate New York when showing a film he created about the media coverage of the war. Schechter says conversation in the standing-room-only movie theater quickly turned to media coverage of Katrina: "Katrina gave us a glimpse of some members of the media actually doing their jobs. Perhaps it was because the Administration underestimated the impact of the crisis and didn't have the perception managers immediately on the case. Or perhaps because when faced with a human disaster, some journalists reverted to being human." Schechter relates the comments of several broadcast journalists who posed tough questions to national administrators. Later in the article, however, he points out many journalists whom he says misrepresented the events. He focuses on those reporters who alleged widespread looting, violence and mayhem in the wake of Katrina.

October 10, 2005. The Athens News. "Journalism Pros Discuss what went Wrong, Right with Katrina Coverage." Jen Lennon.

The E.W. Scripps School of Journalism hosted a panel discussion of three professional journalists to share their observations about coverage of Katrina. All three experts advised reporters to pay more attention to issues of race and class. Pullitzer Prize-winning columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. says Katrina forced the media to have a discussion "that they have avoided for years."

October 10, 2005. The Post Online. "Journalists Criticize Media's Coverage of Katrina, Race." Sam Stephens.

Three panelists at an Ohio University-sponsored discussion about Katrina coverage blasted reporters for ignoring what they are taught in journalism schools: to report what you see. "The distance between what (the media) were being told and what was there before their eyes was so stark and so undeniable that they almost had to respond."

October 4, 2005. Bangor Daily News. "Will Katrina Burst the Class and Racial Levees?"

This commentary suggests that media outlets may alter their coverage about class and race issues as a result of Katrina. This self-scrutinizng should lead to more careful reporting."

December 6, 2005. NewsBusters: Exposing and Combating Liberal Media Bias. By Brent Baker. "Nets Jump to Push Racism Charges of Katrina Victims, CBS Avoids Levee 'Bombing'." 

This commentary is one of dozens that allege that many members of the media are wrongly blaming the administration for failing to rescue some of the Hurricane Katrina victims. This commentary charges that media personalities are alleging race and class bias on the part of the administration.