Journalism and Mass Communications
08 Oct 2020

Black maternal mortality in the media: How journalists cover a deadly racial disparity

Through semi-structured interviews with four women news journalists, this study explores how women journalists cover Black maternal mortality. Discussions include the role of advocacy in journalism as well as the struggle of covering the complex, long-standing systemic issue of maternal mortality associated with race in American society. Five themes consider the inclusion of race in healthcare coverage, a need for in-depth, nuanced coverage, the role of advocacy in journalism, complications of minorities reporting on race, and the importance of citing sources of color. Findings show the need for media advocacy in public health crises, as well as how journalistic norms can pressure journalists into citing inappropriate sources or diluting the story. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

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