Virginia Newspaper Apologizes for Whiteness Before Reporting on Discrimination


A Virginia newspaper apologized for the racial makeup of its reporters who are publishing a series on post-Jim Crow housing discrimination in Norfolk.

“For full disclosure, the people behind this reporting are white and benefit from numerous privileges that the disadvantaged populations highlighted in this project do not, ‘So we have blind spots,'” The Virginian-Pilot said in a Thursday tweet. “Meet the ‘Dividing Lines’ team here:”

“Our newsroom is not as diverse as we would like, something we are working to change,” the paper said in a story about its white reporters. “Reporters Ryan Murphy and Sara Gregory have routinely consulted with Black colleagues about this project. And as the project goes on, they will be speaking with people from across the city and beyond in town-hall style forums that invite residents to talk about racial issues and ask questions about their reporting.”

“When launching a project that’s about racial divisions, it’s only fair to admit we have some blind spots,” the story said.

The reporters who were required to flagellate themselves for the immutable characteristic of skin color were Ryan Murphy and Sara Gregory. Editor Eric Hartley also participated in the ritual.

“If you want to know where I grew up, open this map and find the most well-off part of Chesapeake. That’s where I still live today,” Murphy said on Twitter. “That shapes me, and how I view the world. I grew up in a white community, with white peers. I never wanted for anything. I was given every advantage and opportunity. And I returned to that white community after graduating from college.”

Gregory chimed in, too.

“I’ll go next,” she said. “I grew up in Charlotte and went to public schools in the 90s and early 2000s when the city’s landmark busing program was being litigated in court and eventually overturned. I went to an [International Baccalaureate] magnet middle school and while I went to my ‘home’ [high school] which was diverse. I did [International Baccalaureate] through high school and was tracked into classes with students who looked mostly like me from pretty similar middle class backgrounds.”

The paper claims that Norfolk is more segregated now than it was during the Jim Crow era.

“The city was segregated by design along two main, inextricably-linked lines — housing and schools — and remains divided to this day,” said the first story in its “Dividing Lines” series. “In fact, it’s more separated by race now than it was in the Jim Crow era, the post-Reconstruction period when racist laws and unwritten rules were put in place to oppress and segregate Black people across the American South.”

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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]

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One Thought to “Virginia Newspaper Apologizes for Whiteness Before Reporting on Discrimination”

  1. Fireguy

    Another reason why no one with the slightest bit of intelligence reads newspapers anymore. They wouldn’t know how to recognize and and honestly report news if it came up and hit them on their empty millennial heads.