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Pittsburgh News Directors Consider Joint Agreement on Covering City’s Black Community

In a summit attended by local media officials and black community leaders, the news directors of Pittsburgh’s top three stations said that they were considering signing a joint agreement on coverage policies regarding the city’s black community.

The summit, held at WPXI‘s studios, was part of an ongoing series of meetings put on by the Black Political Empowerment Project, a Pittsburgh organization that works to increase the social standing and political influence of the local African American community.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the meeting was an opportunity for media officials and black leaders to “discuss — and oftentimes vent — about how the city’s black community is covered by television, newspapers and radio.”

“If the only information about black people is what’s in the news, there’s a reason why unemployment rate is astronomic and why we have all these negative issues — because the imaging of black people is extremely negative,” said B-PEP president Tim Stevens.

The idea of the coverage agreement was forwarded by WPXI’s Mike Goldrick, according to the Post-Gazette, while KDKA‘s Anne Linaberger and WTAE‘s Alex Bongiorno expressed their willingness to consider such an arrangement.

Bongiorno made it clear, though, that WTAE doesn’t “pursue bad news.”

“Look, if there’s a shooting in Wexford we’re going to go cover it. If there’s a shooting in Homewood we’re going to go cover a shooting in Homewood,” she said, mentioning a predominately white neighborhood as well as a predominately African American one.

“We want to do positive news,” Goldrick said. “Nobody wants to knock on the door and talk to the mom who just lost her son.”

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