Silent Treatment Greets Black Reporter For 'White' Paper p.13

By: Editorial Staff TYRE WHITE-SEIGLER, a 30-year-old African-American reporter for the Poughkeepsie Journal, walked confidently toward a group of black men and women gathered outside the Dutchess County Courthouse.
They opened their ranks to let her through, hoping she would support their protest outside the courtroom for C. Vernon Mason, Alton H. Maddox Jr. and the Rev. Al Sharpton, defendants in a civil defamation trial.
But one of the protesters wanted to make sure she was on their side before allowing her to interview them:
"Are you with the white press or the black press?
Seigler said she worked for the Journal ? a Gannett Co. paper ? and paid a price for her honesty.
"They wouldn't talk to me," Seigler recalled in a voice full of pain. "They said if I worked for the mainstream press they had nothing to say to me.
"It was just so discouraging."
Seigler, realizing that the emotions were running high on the first day of the trial, tried again to interview members of the group, most of whom were from New York City, but failed.
"I got nowhere because of who I worked for," Seigler said. "I had heard the arguments before about blacks only willing to talk to the black press, but I had never had any problems in Poughkeepsie. I talked to African Americans here on a daily basis.
"I thought for certain that they would want to talk to me because I was an African-American reporter, to get their message across. I was wrong. They felt that because I worked for the mainstream press, we would distort what they had to say. They felt that the black press were the only ones they could trust.
"It was the first time that I had encountered that kind of problem as a reporter."
African-American friends advised her that blacks who work in corporate America face being viewed with similar suspicion.
"My friends told me it was happening in other fields, too."
? Allan Wolper
"They felt that because I worked for the mainstream press, we would distort what they had to say"
?(E&P Web Site: Htt://www. mediainfo. com) [Caption]
?(copyright: Editor & Publisher February 7, 1998) [Caption]


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