Unbiased Reporting Can Be
Tricky For Minorities,
Especially On Election Night

Unbiased Reporting Can Be
Tricky For Minorities,
Especially On Election Night

Written by Lois Lane
🕒 November 6, 2018

It’s here again—Election Season!

This year’s midterm elections brings in a big pool of candidates in races across the country. In some races, history could be made.

In Florida, gubernatorial candidate, Andrew Gillum is the state’s first African-American nominee for governor. Nearby in Georgia, Stacey Abrams could also make history if she wins as the first African-American female governor.

For many minority reporters this could be exciting to report on, but it can also be kind of tricky in order to remain unbiased.

Racial tensions are what many would say are at a very high point in our Country right now, so if you’re a reporter covering either of these races, or any race, there are a few things to remember.

I have four words for you—THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK.

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In a time where the term “fake news” is screamed at reporters here and there, it is a
must that you be careful.

1. Stay away from bias questions during live interviews.

Whether it’s with the candidate you’re covering, or a random supporter that you grab in the crowd, don’t get so caught up into your emotions. You wouldn’t want your interview to turn into your own opinions or viewpoints.

Yes, there are so many issues that minorities want to hear addressed right now, but at the same time it’s important that you ask the right questions, in the correct manner in order for the conversation not to showcase your personal viewpoints.

2. Stay away from biased social media posts.

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This is especially critical for Twitter, where everyone’s political views run rampant.

I know you have so many thoughts going on in your head on election night, as a reporter and as a voter. But remember that your social media posts can make or break your coverage. ​

3. Stay away from invoking fear to viewers.

Stay away from reporting what “you think” one candidate could do if elected that you feel is negative. Don’t get viewers riled up. The political climate is already filled with so much, and it’s not your job to add to anything. Stick to the facts.

4. Stay away from negative words.

Again, if it’s not the facts, don’t say it.

Remember the basics that you learned in J-School. Don’t use negative words to describe a particular candidate, or party, that you disagree with.

5. Stay away from candidate photo opportunities.

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Everyone loves to snap photos to post them to social media these days, but how awkward is it for you to post a selfie or posed photo with your favorite candidate?

Very awkward if someone like your news director sees it. In some cases it may be an innocent photo, but sometimes viewers don’t see it that way. They see you favoring
that candidate.

If you are a minority reporter, make sure you’re giving clear, honest coverage of the races that you cover Tuesday. While there are many things that could be
exciting—like your favorite minority candidate winning—stay professional and unbiased.

If there is something that makes you upset—like a racially charged comment that you randomly hear on election night—again stay professional, and never let your own opinions hit the airwaves.

Stick to the facts!

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