Investing in the Next Generation of Storytellers – Sahan Journal
A nonprofit newsroom dedicated to reporting for Minnesota’s immigrants and communities of color.
July 2022 marked the 5th year that Blue Cross has partnered with ThreeSixty Journalism to host their annual TV Broadcast camp. High school students who participate in TV Broadcast camp had the opportunity to strengthen their writing and communication skills, work directly with some of the industry’s leading television broadcast professionals, and draw on their own life experiences to tell stories related to health equity. The camp aims to empower the next generation of storytellers and change the dominant narrative on health.
This year’s media partners included KARE 11, KMSP, Twin Cities Public Television, WCCO-TV, and BMA Cable Networks. Former broadcast professionals from the University of Minnesota and the University of St. Thomas also participated in classroom teaching and student support.
“TV Broadcast Camp is the ultimate hands-on learning opportunity for ThreeSixty Journalism students,” said ThreeSixty Executive Director Chad Caruthers. “TV Camp alums have landed in local television newsrooms and on important community media projects like Racial Reckoning: The Arc of Justice. The impact of the camp is awesome. It touches students, coaches, industry, and community.”
The theme of this year’s camp was Holistic Health Equity. Students reported on community-led solutions to racial and health inequities in Minnesota. Featured stories emphasized how health is more than just physical and focused on the impacts that racism and homophobia have on the mental and emotional health of individuals, families, and communities.
The voices of communities most impacted by racial and health inequities are frequently underrepresented in media decision-making and coverage. ThreeSixty Journalism and Blue Cross are working together to change the dominant health narrative by giving voice to those most impacted by inequity, creating greater understanding of why inequities happen, and supporting the next generation of storytellers.
Blue Cross believes that addressing the implicit bias in reporting and increasing positive and accurate representations of BIPOC communities in mainstream media is integral to health equity. Media, television, and news routinely perpetuate deficit-based narratives, particularly about BIPOC communities. Dominant narratives impact and reinforce policies and systems that can perpetrate structural racism and result in continued inequities for marginalized communities.
“So often, media perpetuates deficit-based narratives, particularly about Black, Indigenous, immigrant, and communities of color. More often than not, our communities are portrayed as something that needs to be ‘fixed’, rather than recognizing the tremendous strengths, assets, and solutions that exist,” said Bukata Hayes, Vice President of Racial and Health Equity at Blue Cross. “All of the stories that our ThreeSixty students report on focus on community-led solutions and provide context for understanding why inequities exist.”
Television newsrooms remain among the least diverse workplaces in our country and this has a dramatic impact on how communities of color are portrayed in the media.
A 2018 analysis conducted by the Pew Research Center found that over three-quarters (77%) of newsroom employees are white, compared with about two-thirds of all U.S. workers. In addition, white men make up about half of newsroom staff, compared with about a third of the overall workforce.
Diversifying newsrooms is essential to creating a more equitable future. ThreeSixty provides the opportunity for students to strengthen their communications skills, find their voice, and grow as a future journalist. “By investing in the next generation of storytellers, we are helping to change the future of media and amplify voices that have been systematically silenced,” said Bukata Hayes.
Youth also deserve to have their voices and lived experiences represented in journalism and mainstream media. Students who participated in Threesixty TV Broadcast camp were passionate about discussing mental health, antiracism, LGBTQ+ equity, and eager to make their voices heard. “With young people living in a generation that’s making history, it’s very important to talk about our lived reality and to make it known for a wider audience,” said Gloria Ngwa (Washington Technology Magnet School). “You don’t have to be a reporter, something as little as speaking about a current social issue that you’re passionate about and wanting to make change for the better is a great way for young people to make their voices heard because in retrospect, we are tomorrow’s leaders.”
Find the 2022 TV Broadcast stories on the ThreeSixty website and as covered by local media outlets
Future journalists explore health equity issues at ThreeSixty Journalism’s TV Broadcast Camp
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