The Asian American Journalists Association yesterday issued a press release urging media covering the tragedy to “avoid using racial identifiers unless there is a compelling or germane reason.”
“There is no evidence at this early point that the race or ethnicity of the suspected gunman has anything to do with the incident, and to include such mention serves only to unfairly portray an entire people. The effect of mentioning race can be powerfully harmful. It can subject people to unfair treatment based simply on skin color and heritage,” said the release.
The suspected gunman has been identified in media reports as Cho Seung-hui, 23, a legal non-citizen resident originally from South Korea.
AAJA reminded members of the media that the standards of news reporting should be universal and applied equally no matter the platform or medium, including blogs.
The organization, representing approximately 2,000 reporters, editors, photographers and executives in the industry, also encouraged journalists to refer to style and reference books, including AAJA’s “How to Cover Asian America.”
The Asian American Journalists Association is a non-profit professional and educational organization with approximately 2,000 members across the United States and in Asia. Founded in 1981, AAJA has been at the forefront of change in the journalism industry. AAJA’s mission is to encourage Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) to enter the ranks of journalism, to work for fair and accurate coverage of AAPIs, and to increase the number of AAPI journalists and news managers in the industry. AAJA is an alliance partner in UNITY Journalists of Color, along with the Native American Journalists Association, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and National Association of Black Journalists. For more information, visit http://www.aaja.org.