Covering Marginalized Communities With An Ethic of Solidarity

Solidarity offers a concrete set of tools and techniques for journalists to use when covering ongoing (often distressing) issues that marginalized communities endure — without exhausting their audiences or themselves.

News fatigue is rising across the United States, which puts journalists and news organizations in a tough spot as they strive to cover pressing issues that affect marginalized communities, but risk exhausting their audiences when relying on current storytelling techniques. Solidarity Journalism, a new initiative with support from the Democracy Fund, offers a toolkit of specific techniques for journalists to represent marginalized communities and the issues they endure. These techniques emphasize community perspectives on potential paths forward. In the absence of representing paths forward, social psychology research indicates that readers may grow desensitized and begin to “blame the victim” when processing a relentless stream of upsetting news. Solidarity Journalism provides a concrete approach grounded in ten years of journalism research that reporters can use to avoid contributing to reader desensitization, and also offers an opportunity for journalists to enrich their relationships with communities that are often overlooked or underserved in public discourse.

Suggested Speaker(s)

  • Anita Varma, PhD
    Assistant Director of Journalism & Media Ethics, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics (Santa Clara University)