By AYANA MEADE
Despite the large number of environment-related issues that affect minority communities, the predominant face of journalists reporting on these issues, and of people working in the environmental community, continues to be disproportionately white.
Unfortunately, this reality may in part be responsible for the perception within some minority groups that environmental issues are the exclusive domain of upper middle class white people.
In order to change this perception, the newly formed SEJ Diversity Task Force (SEJ-DTF) asserts that it is of vital importance that there be greater minority-focused environmental media coverage in general, and specifically that there be more minority journalists reporting on the issues that affect their communities.
Diversity Task Force membership is open to SEJ members of all backgrounds who have an interest in fostering and promoting greater coverage and understanding of environmental issues that affect minority and other marginalized communities by engaging in activities that serve to increase ethnic, cultural and socioeconomic diversity in SEJ, its conferences, and the environmental journalism community at large.
A major initiative of the DTF is to increase minority participation at SEJ’s yearly conferences at all levels, as well as to work with UNITY Coalition J-group partners (i.e., NABJ, NAHJ, AAJA, NAJA) to encourage the inclusion of environmental topics at their conferences.
UNITY Coalition J-group partner members and other SEJ membership-eligible journalists are also encouraged to join the DTF’s SEJ-DIVERSITY email discussion listserv. The open listserv forum is intended to support the goals of the DTF and promote collaboration, such as connecting SEJ panel submissions with other sister journalism groups.
To join the SEJ-DIVERSITY discussion listserv or to find out more about volunteer opportunities for SEJ members and UNITY J-group partner members, please contact Ayana Meade (DTF Co-chair) with your name, email, and a brief description of your journalistic affiliation, coverage area and/or interest.
Ayana Meade is a freelance writer covering environment and sustainability issues based in White Plains, N.Y. She is a Metcalf Institute Environmental Reporting Fellowship alumna.
* From the quarterly newsletter SEJournal, Winter 2010-11 issue.