Response to viewer e-mail: Coverage of black athletes

Meagan Harris is the news director at First Coast News. This is her public response to a the e-mail at the bottom of this response:

To the Viewer Who Thinks We Only Interview Black Athletes:

We get all kinds of viewer emails. Good. Bad. Ugly. I try to respond to everyone. Today, we got an email that I just can’t stop thinking about.

In it the writer claimed that First Coast News sportscaster Chris Porter “mainly reports on Afro American athletes” adding “When does this prejudice stop with your news station.”   He ends the email asking that we “straighten (our) agenda to be fair to all viewers”. 

We get emails like this from time to time. Chris Porter is one of two black local television sportscasters in Jacksonville. He’s earned the spot of Sports Director at First Coast News. He’s also a husband, a father and an incredibly good person.

Chris and our sports team interview players of all races. The viewer who emailed is referring to a recent interview with Jags player, Malik Jackson.  He’s one of the best players on the team which is the reason we interviewed him.

Last week, we celebrated the top five high school athletes in the area as we’ve done for several years. Chris led our coverage. The group was diverse. We had three different races represented among the five athletes. Chris Porter recently covered our local athletes in the Rio Olympics. There he interviewed swimmers and track stars from all walks of life.  

In sports, we celebrate the wins.  

We capture the disappointment of loss.

We highlight the moments in athletics that bring us together. The moments that make us feel something. Pride for our country. Pride for our city.

Race doesn’t dictate coverage. It doesn’t define an athlete. And it certainly doesn’t define a sportscaster either.  

I found this email heartbreaking that’s why I wanted to share it with you. I blurred out the name because it really doesn’t matter who it came from.  

It leads me to ask the question, when can we all get past our prejudices and judge a man not by the color of his skin but by the outstanding work that he does?

Thanks for watching First Coast News. 

Viewer e-mail on African American athletes by NealBennett on Scribd

 

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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