How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Beyond newsroom diversity: Should who covers what matter?

News vans outside alleged anti-Muslim filmmaker Nakula Basseley Nakula's home in Cerritos, CA

Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images

News vans outside the Cerritos, Calif. home of Nakula Basseley Nakula, an Egyptian immigrant alleged to be the filmmaker behind an anti-Muslim film that recently contributed to violent unrest in several Middle Eastern countries. September 14, 2012

A study released last week that analyzed front-page stories related to the election, pieces that appeared in 38 of the nation's more prominent newspapers, concluded that 93 percent of these stories were written by non-Latino white reporters. It's not an altogether surprising statistic, given the well-documented challenges to diversifying newsrooms. But another figure from the study was striking: Non-Latino white journalists also wrote 95 percent of the stories that involved immigration.

Neither of these numbers surprises Dori J. Maynard, president of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (MIJE), which works with media organizations to promote diversity in hiring and coverage. There has always been an argument, a strong one, that any hardworking reporter should be able to cover any story. But there are stories being missed due to a dearth of diverse perspectives, Maynard argues, not to mention critical nuances tied to culture and background, all of which ultimately make for better journalism.