In our newspapers and websites this week, you’ll see an article about the Golden Transcript. It’s one of two dozen newspapers owned by Colorado Community Media. The article tackles the issue of systemic racism in the Transcript’s pages.
The idea for the project started in 2020, when the Colorado News Collaborative, Colorado Media Project and Free Press convened the Black Voices Working Group, which was made up of Black leaders, community members and journalists. The group addressed media coverage and focused on how to improve trust in mainstream media among the Black community. Acknowledging past harm was the No. 1 recommendation made by the group.
A few months later, I attended a Denver Press Club event where Jameka Lewis, a senior librarian at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, illustrated biases in mainstream local media coverage of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s and ’70s while exhibiting rare prints of the Black Panther Press. Many of Lewis’ examples came from the Transcript. Most articles were wire stories from other cities, but editors still chose to run them, affecting perceptions of the group in Golden.
We pursued and were awarded a grant from the nonpartisan Colorado Media Project to explore, uncover and analyze this issue in the form of the special report you’ll find at the end of this article.
Our newsroom, which is predominantly White, also participated in the Maynard Institute’s diversity, equity and inclusion Fault Lines training along the way. West metro editor Kristen Fiore was a speaker at the Advancing Equity in Local News convening with journalists from publications like the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Washington Post to talk about this project.
We believe this story is important beyond Golden — and we hope to spark conversations in our communities across the Denver area about race and inclusion and how our news coverage impacts those issues.
Linda Carpio Shapley is publisher of Colorado Community Media, which runs two dozen weekly and monthly publications in eight counties. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org