The media deathwatch never stops. Even while I was in Miami at the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) convention over the weekend, discussing the future of our business, the news came that Pacific Standard—a 10-year-old California-based magazine that made a name for itself particularly for coverage of the environment and social justice issues—was shutting down, adding to a body count that, in August alone, includes the 150-year-old Youngstown, Ohio, daily The Vindicator and Governing, a journal that chronicles state and local government.
Yet amid misery, as amid plenty, there is also inequality. These are tough times for journalism—and not just because of the grim numbers on our balance sheets or the impact of Facebook and Google on our audiences. As the very notion of truth is parodied daily from the White House and journalists are regularly demonized as “enemies of the people,” it takes a peculiar kind of dedication—or perversity—to persist in reporting the news. But when, on the 2016 campaign trail, I tired of sitting in the press pen while candidate Trump incited the crowd against us, I could always slip away and sit inconspicuously in the bleachers. That option, I was reminded here repeatedly, isn’t open to reporters of color.