Vice President of Print
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (June 3, 2020) – The Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists joins the community in public disappointment and disgust by the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s editorial decision to run a headline that reads “Building’s Matter, Too” to describe an op-ed written by one of their columnists. The subtitle that follows the headline reads “Yes, they can be rebuilt, while lives are forever lost. But that doesn’t mean they will be” is racially insensitive and grossly conflates the value of Black lives lost by police brutality to property being destroyed.
“By co-opting the activist battlecry ‘Black Lives Matter’ for a tone-deaf headline, Philadelphia Inquirer antagonized an already intense national conversation on race,” says Ernest Owens, Vice President of Print for the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists. “Sensitivity for Black communities and readers right now in the middle of protests against racial injustice should weigh more than ignorant editorial punchlines.”
PABJ stands in solidarity with Black staffers who have had to deal with the hardship of facing racial hardship while covering these tough issues and dealing with such unnecessary controversy in their own newsrooms.
PABJ is calling on more than just a formal apology from the Philadelphia Inquirer, but immediate changes to their editorial process and vetting.
We welcome a conversation with their editorial staff on this matter and propose working together on a collaborative plan that addresses the systemic racism that is reflected in their newsroom, and their coverage.
Ernest Owens, PABJ’s Vice President of Print