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eminence grease
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If I understand her question the way you've described it, I think I might have interpreted it differently.

What I heard is "Are you the kind of parent that values putting your child in a diverse situation because there is an advantage in exposing the kid to other cultures?"

It's sort of a stupid question because by your actions you are demonstating that value. Such is the quality of the intelligence of the average journalist these days.

In a sense, it's a compliment to you, because many parents seek the opposite. If I'd been asked I'd have said "yes, I think a diverse environment is good for my kid."
 

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Call me a Fred
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16,999 Posts
Just tell her that you charge $1000 an hour for interviews.
 

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midnight melon mounter
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This morning I was approached by a journalist as I dropped my son off at daycare. She's writing an article about how families with children in daycare appreciate the stimulus money dedicated to Early Head Start programs. She had a visitor's badge, and she was in the classroom.

The questions she asked me were trying to extract a white perspective in a mostly black facility. She asked, in the friendliest way, if I valued my son being exposed to children in the head start program. I'm completely ignorant of who in the school is receiving aid, and so is she. Her other questions followed this line of thought.

This happened at peak drop-off time, in front of all the black moms and dads I see every day, twice a day. It also happened in front of his three teachers, all of whom are black. These are people whose birthday parties I go to, who are my son's first friends. The atmosphere in the school is the most race blind I've felt since I was a kid.

I'm not sure I can convey why it made me feel so lousy. I don't give a crap if she makes weird assumptions about my motives, and I don't think the other parents are going to adjust their feelings about me. But it really sucked.
 

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Premium Member
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21,910 Posts
When I am approached by someone from the media asking questions I either follow Greg Taylors example (lie like a rug) with a smile or tell them to FOAD.

Depending on my mood and how much time I have to kill.
 

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Palm trees & sunshine!
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24,200 Posts
The best thing about journalists is that you are under no obligation whatsoever to answer their questions.
 

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Non non normal
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10,102 Posts
I would have answered that question with "I have never really thought about it".

The problem with reporters is you never know if you are going to get a fair shake anymore. The whole industry is so biased and the vast majority are trying to 'make' news rather than report facts. It has become sickening.

Why does TV continue to show video clips of 'staged protests"?
If one person has a conflicting opinion it is made to be a "major opposition"
 

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Fini les ecrase-"manets"!
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9,416 Posts
Cory said:
Seems more likely to me (and I've done hundreds of stories like this) that, if the school is largely black, she was trying to balance her coverage. Many papers have strict, though often unpublicized, rules about that.
Nothing against you personally, Cory, and not trying to take this to PO--it's not a race question, it's a critical thinking issue that could come up in almost any scenario. This one just happened to be apparently racial:

The notion that it somehow "balances" the coverage to go talk to the only white person you find in a sea of black or minority faces is utterly laughable. Applying a little critical thinking would lead one to conclude that what you'll get is someone whose perspective is unlikely to be all that similar to most white people's, and unlikely to differ substantially from the rest of the group. How does that balance anything?

It provides the appearance of balance, and it's emblematic of one of the major problems with journalism today.

Not every countervailing theory is of equal value. Not every perspective is worthy of the same number of column inches. Journalism seems to be VERY short on the idea of critical thought, and it's wrecking things. Science coverage is a joke, followed closely by most everything else.
 

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Off the back
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1,850 Posts
Sounds like she was fishing for something "racey" to put in her article. Imagine how popular that would make you. You did the right thing.
 

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Fat'r + Slow'r than TMB
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I remember running into a journalist once......they really should have gotten outta the way when I asked the first time.
 

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your text here
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13,192 Posts
if she was from the suntimess, you coulda asked about bankrupt newspapers. the trib? ask about the cubs.

seriously though, has it ever crossed your mind? my guess is "no," but some people think about this stuff. she is just looking for some sorta story. on assignment. "go ask about how the economy is affecting our children." i doubt any parent/teacher in the class will hold anything against you, no matter how it is conveyed.

i cant get over how people still think about this stuff. its almost like they are holdon on to old ways of thinking just to keep things "interesting."
 

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Bacon!
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9,190 Posts
(I'm being humerous). Should have screamed "OMG! There's that type of kids in here!!!"

I have no idea what her motives were, but I can understand how you felt a little awkward.
 

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Banned
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6,360 Posts
As a recovering journalist myself, I have to defend her

I was on the other side of this issue for more than 30 years, so I have some idea of her position here. I'll be the first to admit that a lot of marginally qualified people are doing that job these days (that's one reason I left--they could hire 2.3 new reporters for what they were paying me), but still:
Sounds like she went to exactly the right place to find sources for the story she was assigned to do. The idea almost certainly came from an editor who got an idea on the way to work, spotted her when he walked in the door and said, "OK, here's what I want, and I need it by noon."
She would have checked in with the school, which approved her and let her in. So at least they were comfortable with what she was doing.
I'm not sure she was "trying to extract a white perspective," or if that's a bad thing. Seems more likely to me (and I've done hundreds of stories like this) that, if the school is largely black, she was trying to balance her coverage. Many papers have strict, though often unpublicized, rules about that. I was once sent out to augment a completed (and damn good) story so I could "find a Pacific Islander." I already had a black, white, and Hispanic, but I needed a Samoan. I found one at the Post Office. If you were a black parent in an all-white school, she would have approached you then, too,
Her questions about diversity seem legit to me, and I admire her for asking them. A lot of reporters would think that was a sensitive issue and would skirt it. My kids went to entirely white, high-income schools through eighth grade, and I often wondered if they were getting a false sense of the world (my rich, white, nearly-all-Republican neighbors scoffed at the idea, but I still think it's valid).,
Going at "peak drop-off time" just makes sense--that's when parents are there. If she goes at 10 in the morning, she gets zip. If it's inconvenient, people can tell her, "Sorry, I don't have time to talk right now," or just "Hey, eff you." Used to happen to me all the time.
I'm pretty critical of journalists and journalism these days, and I agree many are doing a crappy job, but this sounds like a reasonable approach to me.


but
Alex-in-Evanston said:
This morning I was approached by a journalist as I dropped my son off at daycare. She's writing an article about how families with children in daycare appreciate the stimulus money dedicated to Early Head Start programs. She had a visitor's badge, and she was in the classroom.

The questions she asked me were trying to extract a white perspective in a mostly black facility. She asked, in the friendliest way, if I valued my son being exposed to children in the head start program. I'm completely ignorant of who in the school is receiving aid, and so is she. Her other questions followed this line of thought.

This happened at peak drop-off time, in front of all the black moms and dads I see every day, twice a day. It also happened in front of his three teachers, all of whom are black. These are people whose birthday parties I go to, who are my son's first friends. The atmosphere in the school is the most race blind I've felt since I was a kid.

I'm not sure I can convey why it made me feel so lousy. I don't give a crap if she makes weird assumptions about my motives, and I don't think the other parents are going to adjust their feelings about me. But it really sucked.
 

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Windrider (Stubborn)
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22,021 Posts
I can see why you were uncomfortable.

What do you think would have happened if you had asked her "With all the other families in the room here...why are you asking me this?"......or...."Have you asked the same question of everyone else her?" If nothing else, it would have gotten the 800 lb issue out in the open.

Len
 

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"El Bwana"
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4,399 Posts
I guess there's a reason that reporters are trusted about the same as used car salesmen.
 

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Ethical Nihilist
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1,068 Posts
Whenever approached by a member of the media always look them in the eye and say this in a calm, conversational tone of voice:

"I am wise to the fact that you are really a giant insect and part of the invasion vanguard from the planet Zebtar. You are not fooling anyone with that phony human disguise."

End of interview.
 

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Sticky Valentine
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28,404 Posts
Alex, just grow your beard back and next time the white journalists will be asking the black families if they're okay with having their children being enrolled with yours :p


joe
 

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midnight melon mounter
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6,621 Posts
terry b said:
If I understand her question the way you've described it, I think I might have interpreted it differently.

What I heard is "Are you the kind of parent that values putting your child in a diverse situation because there is an advantage in exposing the kid to other cultures?"
Her questions had some embedded assumptions that I wouldn't make. Note that she didn't ask if I received any aid. Nor was she interested in other aspects of the place that might have been the reason why I chose it, like quality of care.

If I answer her question as stated, I'm complicit in her assumptions. It sounds subtle, but in that company I don't think it was. I think everybody in the room knew what she meant, and it made me feel a little queasy.

Certainly not a crime, just one of those little things.
 

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Banned
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6,360 Posts
You're preaching to the choir on this--I made these points in news meetings for years, including the one about countervailing theories. I'm sure my "non-team player" attitude was one reason I was on the first buyout list (and thank God, because I got twice as much money as the people laid off six months later).
The story about the Pacific Islander is true, but I repeated it because I thought it was ridiculous, not because I endorse the thinking. My point was that even if the reporter knew better, she had no choice but to do what the editor directed. And the time to go talk to parents is still when the parents are there, during peak dropoff

bikeboy389 said:
Nothing against you personally, Cory, and not trying to take this to PO--it's not a race question, it's a critical thinking issue that could come up in almost any scenario. This one just happened to be apparently racial:

The notion that it somehow "balances" the coverage to go talk to the only white person you find in a sea of black or minority faces is utterly laughable. Applying a little critical thinking would lead one to conclude that what you'll get is someone whose perspective is unlikely to be all that similar to most white people's, and unlikely to differ substantially from the rest of the group. How does that balance anything?

It provides the appearance of balance, and it's emblematic of one of the major problems with journalism today.

Not every countervailing theory is of equal value. Not every perspective is worthy of the same number of column inches. Journalism seems to be VERY short on the idea of critical thought, and it's wrecking things. Science coverage is a joke, followed closely by most everything else.
 

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(not a real racer)
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482 Posts
When confronted with a journalist I usually say "you're what's wrong with America" and then go off on a random Beck inspired freeform train of thought.
 
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