Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ozarks Boy accused of being a racist

As a reporter for the Rolla Daily News, one of my duties is to try to get a "Personal Profile" feature to run each Monday with a picture. That is a lot harder than it sounds. The "Personal Profile" is written by the subjects, who simply write their answers to a questionnaire. I can't tell you how many times I have taken a picture of someone, left a questionnaire with them and never had the answers e-mailed to me, mailed to me, faxed to me, brought by the office to me. They just forget me.
Another Daily News employee offered to help. She turned in a questionnaire that had been filled out by a woman, but did not get a picture to me in time for it to run with the questionnaire. We ran the personal profile WITHOUT picture on Monday, June 20.
Today, 10 days later, when I got to work, my boss told me a woman had called complaining that her friend's personal profile ran without a picture. The caller said it was obvious that the only reason was because the personal profile subject was Black and we are racists. I guess her point was that we didn't want to run a picture of a Black person on Page 1 of the newspaper.
Now, I want to point out that on that same Page 1 on that same date, the main news picture is an RDN staff member's photo of the NAACP's Juneteenth Celebration. More than five Black people are in the photo. Then on Page 6, there are three more pictures of the Celebration with more Black people pictured.
The charge of racism doesn't seem to hold any water. That's because it isn't true.
I'm sorry the personal profile subject's picture didn't run. That was a failure on my part. I was counting on another employee to do as she promised, and she didn't. I should always take all the pictures for the personal profile feature myself, and I will from now on. I'm going to try to find that lady whose picture did not run and take her picture myself.
Accuse me of poor organizational skills, but don't accuse me or my paper of racism.

No comments: