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Have Things Improved?

What has changed, if anything, since the Rodney King beating?

By Janine Sutherlin

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Sreenath Sreenivasan is a professor of journalism at Columbia University and a co-founder of the South Asian Journalists Association, a group of more than 800 journalists across the United States and Canada.

Q: In the 10 years since the Rodney King beating, how do you think coverage of ethnic minorities has changed?

A: America and the media have changed significantly since the beating. The immigration patterns of the last decade have made the country more multicultural. There is clearly more awareness of ethnic minorities among editors and the need to cover them better. In many cases, the coverage is much improved. In others, there is still a lot that falls between the cracks. Overall, I think there has been an improvement, though there's still work to be done. I hear the topic coming up more often in newsrooms, panels and industry gatherings.

Q: What is the significance of the 10-year anniversary to you?

A: It's a chance to reflect on one of the most pivotal series of events on the last century -- not just for U.S. society, but also for journalism. We are still learning lessons from those events.

Q: What can working journalists do to improve coverage of ethnic minority groups?

A: Be sure to really study the Census results and get to know what they mean.



The interview was conducted by News Watch researcher Janine Sutherlin. She can be reached by e-mail at janeeners@onebox.com

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