According to a new Pew Research poll, four in 10 people (41%) say news organizations are growing in influence, while 33% say their influence is declining. Only a year earlier in early 2020 nearly half of those polled (48%) said the news media was declining in influence compared to 32% that said it was growing in influence.
Among Blacks, the Pew poll reported that nearly half (48%) are more likely to say the news media’s influence is growing rather than those (19%) who say it is declining. Whites are about split in this regard—39% believe it is growing while 37% do not.
Over the years, Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) has been oft-criticized for its poor coverage of Black communities and other Communities of Color. The network has demonstrated an improvement in this area of late, especially after George Floyd’s death last May.
One example is MPR’s “In Focus” series that focuses on Minnesota’s persistent racial disparities. Veteran MPR Senior Reporter Brandt Williams recently was named an interim editor as a temporary assignment. Angela Davis, a longtime journalist, joined MPR in 2018 and hosts a midday talk show. Duchesne Drew became MPR president in 2020.
MPR in April hired Sarah Glover as MPR news managing editor. She is responsible for about 40 newsroom staff at Minnesota’s only statewide public media network. Her responsibilities include editorial decisions and planning across MPR News platforms and she will also collaborate closely with Drew and Program Director Stephanie Curtis.
“I can’t speak to the past,” said Glover in a recent MSR interview. She pledged that MPR News will be “authentic…definitely representative of local communities of color.”
Glover brings to the Twin Cities and MPR nearly 25 years of local journalism experience, including over a decade at the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Philadelphia Daily News as a staff photographer. At the latter, she led the video team on the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Tainted Justice” series.
She also was a first-time two-term president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) from 2015 to 2019. She played a crucial role in the Associated Press Stylebook’s decision to capitalize the “B” in Black when describing people and communities.
“I’m excited to be here working at MPR News and in the Twin Cities,” said Glover, whose first official day began the day before the Derek Chauvin verdict in Minneapolis. “I came here with an open mind and certainly a drive and interest to cover the community.”
“I wish I can say that me coming here was planned out or there was a master plan for me to come here, because certainly that is not the case,” she continued. “Based upon the discussions that I had with [MPR] senior leadership here, when I looked more closely at the opportunity, it was really difficult to turn away from it.”
Coming to the Midwest at this time “is something that I found invigorating. I took the chance and the opportunity,” said Glover. “I’m a person of faith, and I feel that all of our steps are ordered. Me being here is not a mistake.”
The Floyd murder a year ago, the Chauvin trial and verdict, and America’s racial awakening during a pandemic “really has [brought] the weight on us as members of the media to continue to tell the story of Black people in America, the experiences that racism have on Black people,” said Glover. “There are many joys, there are also pains, and we have to tell the story.”
“Like other newsrooms across the country,” noted the MPR newsroom leader, “mainstream newsrooms need to work on improving their coverage of Black communities and Communities of Color. I certainly have a commitment moving forward to ensuring the coverage is not only reflective of the community, but also that it is authentic.
“Truthfully, I hope that the work we do here will be a model for other newsrooms across the country to really address equity for other mainstream [news] organizations to really level up their coverage so that it is more representative for [this] community,” said Glover. “All news organizations need to do a better job, and I’m hoping to champion that. I’m committed to that.”
Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.