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For The Beacon to play a part in dismantling racist and other inequitable structures that have long thrived in journalism, it takes a consistent effort to hold ourselves and those in power accountable.
Here’s how we show our commitment to these values every day:
Respect: We lead with empathy for the people who read, produce and appear in our journalism.
History: We acknowledge and condemn the ongoing legacy of racism in the U.S. and in the institution we are part of — the press. We commit to anti-racist practices as we build our organization and conduct our work. We acknowledge and understand journalism’s failings to represent marginalized communities, and we make every effort to avoid repeating those mistakes. Our journalism takes time to explain historic reasons for mistrust and abuses, and the systems and structures responsible for injustice.
Sourcing: Beacon reporters talk to people who have lived experience on the ground in an issue, not just experts. We do not give a platform to racist opinions.
Dignity and clarity: We recognize biases in news coverage and seek to remedy these with policies and practices that ensure communities aren’t painted with broad strokes. Whenever possible, sources in our stories self-identify race, gender and terms that may be relevant to their experience. We maintain The Beacon Style Guide as a living document to encourage thoughtful deliberation and establish expectations for identifying people and communities with dignity.
Organizational structure, hiring and payment: We seek to reflect the communities we serve. We pay our interns and freelancers and treat them with the same dignity and respect we show full-time staff members. We adopt best practices to ensure fair, equity-based and competency-based hiring and pay. For example, we take great care to ensure job descriptions use language that’s inclusive of lived experiences.
Community Advisory Board: Community input is vital to our success. Our community advisory board will play a critical role in advising the organization with a focus on improving our journalism, reaching underserved audiences and improving our public service to the community.
Accessibility: We adopt solutions and accommodations so that those who have been systematically excluded from digital news can have access to our stories. We provide closed captioning for Beacon events and partner with Audio-Reader to distribute our journalism to blind, visually impaired, and print disabled individuals in Kansas.
Trust: We work to earn the trust of the community, and for Beacon workplaces and community meetings to be safe spaces where people can call out inappropriate behaviors and report areas of discomfort. We intentionally build opportunities for people, both internally and externally, to call our organization to task when we may miss the mark. We listen actively, take criticism and seek to avoid defensive responses to honest feedback. People who bring forth questions or concerns are not met with hostility.
Amplifying the underrepresented: We are aware of the limitations of our staff experience and identify collaborators when we don’t have the right expertise to take on a project. We don’t just generate stories based on what we organically become aware of — instead we build mechanisms for communities to submit story and sourcing ideas.
Strengthening industry standards: We call for industry-wide change so that local news can better reflect the communities it serves. We regularly report and share DEIB lessons so that the work we forge may be pursued by others. The Beacon has signed the Media 2070 pledge to help dismantle anti-Black racism in the media and care for Black communities and journalists.