REPORTING ON DIVERSITY

Editorial

COVERING ethnicity, race, gender, religion or minority communities is one of those challenging tasks that require much more than knowledge of how to draft a lead, plan a nut-graph and collect or organise quotes. It even takes more than reporting skills, curiosity or courage to pursue the unknown.

COVERING ethnicity, race, gender, religion or minority communities is one of those challenging tasks that require much more than knowledge of how to draft a lead, plan a nut-graph and collect or organise quotes. It even takes more than reporting skills, curiosity or courage to pursue the unknown.

In Slovak media there are very few journalists who have chosen ethnicity, race, gender or minorities as their exclusive beat and given the economic pressures on newsrooms it is unlikely this trend will change anytime soon.

However, Slovakia’s face is changing. Communities which were nearly invisible for many years are speaking up, ethnic groups struggle to preserve their heritage and immigrants hope to call this country home.

The media play a crucial role in telling their stories without distorting their voices so that the majority can overcome its fears, prejudices and misconceptions fed by the unknown.
Fourteen young people left their comfort zone and undertook the challenging task of reporting on Slovakia’s diversity.

After undergoing a series of lectures, workshops and trainings conducted by, among others, Sig Gissler, the administrator of Pulitzer Prizes and a valued educator of the journalism school at Columbia University, the reporters were tasked to enter the communities of Roma, ethnic Hungarians, LGBTI persons, Vietnamese and Koreans.

The Slovak Spectator asked them to explore the fate of abandoned synagogues, the Muslim community or the role of faith in welcoming foreigners to Slovakia.

We asked them to go much deeper than statistics, to places where their own assumptions, biases and prejudices are stored. We asked them to talk to real people instead of compiling information from the internet.

So they went and brought back 14 stories, edited by Senior Editor Benjamin Cunningham, that we now offer in the ‘Reporting on Diversity’ special supplement.

We believe that the experience was valuable to these young people and hope that these voices and stories will resonate with readers as well.

The articles included in the “Reporting on Diversity” supplement were created by authors enrolled in the “Reporting on Diversity” programme organised by The Slovak Spectator in cooperation with the Journalism Department at Comenius University and with the support of the U.S. Embassy in Bratislava. The programme seeks to train young journalists and journalism students for covering ethnicity, gender, race and religious issues, as well as other phenomena related to various communities and the challenges they face in Slovakia. The articles were prepared in line with strict journalistic ethical and reporting standards.

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