One of the Midwest’s most influential newspapers apologized Sunday for what its top editor described as decades of racist coverage of Kansas City.
In a letter to readers, Mike Fannin, who has been the editor of the Kansas City Star since 2008, wrote that the newspaper “neglected, ignored and insulted generations of Black Kansas citizens.” This curbed Jim Crow laws and redistricting. “
For the newspaper’s early history, which was founded in 1880, Starr “robbed an entire community of opportunity, dignity, justice, and recognition,” Fannin wrote.
The apology came three months after the publisher of another influential US newspaper, the Los Angeles Times, acknowledged its own “blind spot” and said its employees were beginning the process of acknowledging and confirming their past bias That its newsroom will not tolerate partiality.
Fannin described the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the resulting racial justice protest movement – one of the largest in American history – which he described as “an honest examination of our own past.”
Reporters focused on the newspaper’s archives, compared its coverage with local black newspapers and spoke to scholars and community leaders for a six-part package examining the paper’s past.
With no mention of the Black community’s aspirations, achievements and milestones, reporters found what they say, “Fannin wrote -” coverage focused on criminals living in a world of criminals .
“In Star’s pages, when black people were written about, they were mainly cast as criminals or victims of crime, furthering a toxic narrative,” Fannin said. “Other violence, meanwhile, was tuned out.”
The newspaper said military operations were covered overseas but black families were not bombed down the street.
The great jazz saxophonist – and Kansas City native – Charlie Parker did not get a major title in the newspaper until he died, Fennin wrote.
“And yet, his name was wrong and his age was wrong,” he said.
In Los Angeles, Times publisher Patrick Soon-shiong – who along with his wife bought the paper in 2018, becoming its first non-white owner – offered a similar account of the publication’s “one-dimensional, sometimes racist” coverage , Which overlooked this large city and the diverse population
He said that the paper did not hire its first black journalist until the 1960s, while the first Asian Americans did not appear until a decade later.
Latinoes, who comprise nearly half of Los Angeles’ population, were never properly represented among paper employees, he said.
Soon-shyong said that the paper has committed to hiring more journalists and editors of color workers and “to build an organizational culture that truly values representation and equity.”