Through Table Stakes, Knoxville News Sentinel improves coverage of Black communities

Citing the newsroom’s involvement in the UNC-Knight Table Stakes Initiative, Social Justice, Race and Equity Reporter Angela Davis wrote that the Knoxville News Sentinel is making good on its commitment to improving its coverage of Black communities.

No longer using mugshots in stories and expanding newsroom diversity are two steps Knoxville News has taken to enhance the accuracy of local news, particularly when covering Black communities.

Davis also cited prioritizing community sources, rethinking the delivery of news and how we report on stories, centering community voices and telling stories that don’t only highlight trauma within the Black community as positive changes the newsroom made.

“Mugshot galleries have no news value, harm communities, and perpetuate racism by trotting out images of predominantly Black and brown people accused of crimes,” she stated.

The Table Stakes program helps news organizations tackle their biggest challenges, including improving relationships with previously underserved or harmed communities. This was the North Star challenge of the Knoxville News Sentinel, a cohort four member.

Additionally, the newsroom has made improvements in creating a staff that reflects its community — new reporters of color have been hired, adding depth and diversity to their reporting force.

“Many longtime readers have shared that they have noticed the shift in coverage, and new readers have applauded it,” Davis wrote. “We are simply finally attempting to include those historically left out or misrepresented in mainstream media. It’s not a new way of journalism, it’s the right way.

Read Davis’s column on the Knoxville News Sentinel site.