Survey rates Chicago papers’ ethnic coverage p. 16

By: Editorial Staff

CHICAGO ETHNIC LEADERS rate the news coverage of their communities by the city’s two major daily newspapers as just so-so, according to a survey conducted at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.
In the survey of 116 ethnic leaders, the overall coverage of both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times was rated good overall ? but the community leaders marked both papers down a grade when it comes to coverage of their own communities.
Overall, the leaders said, the Tribune deserve a B grade for general news coverage, but a C- for its ethnic reporting. Sun-Times overall coverage was given a B- and a C for its ethnic reporting.
Latinos were most critical of both papers ? marking their ethnic coverage as deserving only a D+ grade.
The survey, directed by Medill adjunct instructor Cynthia Linton, questioned 116 ethnic leaders, 28 of them African American, 30 Latino, 29 Asian American and 29 Eastern European. Assisting in the research, which was funded by the Human Relations Foundation of Chicago and the Gannett Urban Journalism Center at Northwestern, were graduate Barbara Bell and undergrads Rebeca Mojica and Jodi Jasmin.
No group was happy with the job the newspapers are doing, but the reasons for their dissatisfaction varied.
African Americans, for example, were more like to complain that coverage of their community was too negative. Asian Americans and Eastern European Americans, on the other hand, said their biggest complaint was the lack of coverage of their ethnic groups.
Latinos were critical of the papers for both reasons.
No matter what their opinion of the papers, these ethnic leaders are reading them carefully.
Nearly two-thirds, 63%, read both papers at least occasionally. Some 86% said they read the Tribune at least once a week and 43% read it every day. The Sun-Times is read at least weekly by 71% of the ethnic leaders, and 27% read it every day.

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