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SOCM Hosts Community Discussion to Address Racial Stereotypes in the Media – Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment

SOCM Hosts Community Discussion to Address Racial Stereotypes in the Media

4/7/14 – SOCM Hosts Community Discussion to Address Racial Stereotypes in the Media – Panelists include Director of Policy and Administration at the American Center for Outreach and Director of MTSU Mass Communications Graduate Program

Murfreesboro, Tenn. – On Wednesday, April 9th, members of Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment (SOCM) will host an open community discussion on racial stereotypes in the media. SOCM’s Social Justice Committee has been conducting a year-long study focusing on how race factors into local news coverage. Committee members will present their findings, which will be followed by a panel of experts and a community discussion. Panelists are Remziya Suleyman, Director of Policy and Administration at the American Center for Outreach, and Dr. Clare Bratten, Director of Graduate Programs at Middle Tennessee State University’s College of Mass Communications. The discussion will start at 6:30 p.m. in room 108 of the Cason-Kennedy Nursing Building on the MTSU campus. It is free and open to the public.

“This is an important discussion that everyone needs to be having,” said SOCM member Scott Martindale. “Research has shown that people of color are often portrayed in a more negative way in the media and that this can have a very real effect on how we live together as a community.”

At the beginning of 2013, SOCM members officially kicked off their project to identify and combat stereotypes relating to race in the media. The inspiration for this project came from observations members made about how local media outlets can influence public perception and lead to serious tension in our communities.

“We have been researching instances of racial bias in local news outlets in Middle Tennessee to help identify and combat this trend we are seeing,” said Martindale. “Most of the time, it is unintentional on behalf of the news outlet, but it still needs to be addressed. They need to know that how they report on news can be very informative and educational or very destructive.”

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