Vermont Conversation: Local media reckons with its own racism and sexism

Statehouse press conference
News cameras and reporters set up for a Statehouse press conference in July 2020. File photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger

The Vermont Conversation with David Goodman is a VTDigger podcast that features in-depth interviews on local and national issues with politicians, activists, artists, changemakers and citizens who are making a difference. Listen below, and subscribe on Apple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts or Spotify to hear more.

This has been a year of reckoning for American journalism. In the wake of the racial justice protests last summer following the police murder of George Floyd, several leading journalism outlets reflected on their own roles regarding race and racism. In September, the Los Angeles Times apologized for its history of racism, which it detailed in a series of articles. In December, the Kansas City Star apologized for its own racism and published a series of articles that addressed how the paper “disenfranchised, ignored and scorned generations of Black Kansas Citians.”

The demand for reckoning and reflection has also come to Vermont. Last summer, racial justice activists in Burlington burned copies of Seven Days in anger over how a protest encampment was covered. This week in Vermont, a letter was released signed by over 50 people, including former Governors Kunin, Dean and Shumlin, addressed to the Vermont media. The letter stated:

“We hope you will engage in internal conversations within your organizations about the issues of sexism, gender bias and racism in reporting, and commit to the challenging work of reckoning with the unconscious biases that affect our public narratives every day.”

VTDigger editor in chief Anne Galloway responded to the letter, conceding, “I am frankly embarrassed that our organization has been part of the problem.”

We discuss sexism and racism in the Vermont media with two media leaders and two signatories of the letter to the Vermont media. Alex MacLean, partner and president of Leonine Public Affairs, and Kiah Morris, Movement Politics Director for Rights and Democracy Vermont and a member of the Vermont Commission on Women, both signed the letter to the Vermont media. Cathy Resmer, deputy publisher of Seven Days, and Anne Galloway, founder and editor of VTDigger, acknowledged the need for change.

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David Goodman

About David

David Goodman is an award-winning journalist and the author of a dozen books, including four New York Times bestsellers that he co-authored with his sister, Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman. His work has appeared in Mother Jones, New York Times, Outside, Boston Globe and other publications. He is the host of The Vermont Conversation, a VTDigger podcast featuring in-depth interviews about local and national topics. The Vermont Conversation is also an hour-long weekly radio program that can be heard on Wednesday at 1 p.m. on WDEV/Radio Vermont.

Email: [email protected]

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