Coverage of the Inner City and the Urban Poor: The Media and Urban Issues
A Panel Discussion Sponsored by Chicago Media Action
Wednesday, October 4, 2006
Time: 7:30-9:00 p.m.
Chicago Temple, 77 W. Washington
Cliff Kelly, host of The Cliff Kelly Show, WVON Radio
Paul Street, author of Segregated Schools: Educational Apartheid in Post-Civil Rights America (2005) and Racial Oppression in the Global Metropolis (forthcoming, 2007)
Steve Macek, author of Urban Nightmares: The Media, the Right and the Moral Panic over the City (2006)
La'Keisha Gray, National Hip Hop Political Convention
Beauty Turner, Assistant Editor, Resident's Journal
The news media’s coverage of America’s inner cities and of the nation’s most important urban issues has arguably never been worse than it is today. Major newspapers and local TV news broadcasts in most big cities openly cater to wealthy, mostly white, suburban audiences; meanwhile, “alternative weeklies” are skewed to the interests of young middle-class hipsters who are rapidly gentrifying working class black and Latino urban neighborhoods. As a result -- with the exception of small, independent publications like Residents Journal and The Chicago Reporter here in Chicago-- the media largely ignore the concerns of city residents who are poor, working class, immigrants or people of color. Even more disturbing, on those rare occasions when mainstream new organizations do cover the inner city, they tend to portray inner city communities as deviant, dysfunctional, dangerous and a threat to the rest of society.
The speakers on this panel will explore—and criticize—the mainstream media’s biased and inadequate treatment of social realities in American cities and of problems like affordable housing, inner city poverty and joblessness, central city deindustrialization, racial segregation and gentrification. And they will discuss ways of challenging media institutions to provide better coverage of urban issues.
The panel will be followed by brief question and answer period and a free ranging audience “speak out” about the mainstream media’s reporting on inner city neighborhoods and the issues facing their residents.
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