Exploring ethnicity through auto-ethnography

Ethnicity is deeply meaningful to people. It’s also a complicated source of tension around the world. That’s why San Francisco State University requires journalism students to learn about ethnicity in Journalism 610: Cultural Diversity and the U.S. News Media. As the course instructor, I wanted to make the subject personal for my students.

Getting underrepresented teens on air

At Ballou High School in S.E. Washington, DC, teaching students about radio journalism is no easy feat.

It’s not because the school is surrounded by police cars every morning and everyone goes through metal detectors to enter the building. Or that less than 20 percent of students score ‘proficient’ on state reading and math tests.

The real hurdles when I embedded there as part of the Prime Movers Media Program were the school’s lack of radio equipment and a rule preventing students from leaving the room during class time. Since problems are just opportunities in disguise, though, it didn’t stop us from creating pieces so good a few aired nationally on NPR!