Flux Magazine lays platform for community diversity discussion

Two hours of a community discussion on Jan. 7, offered an opportunity for conversation about inclusivity within journalism.

“It’s tracking the way institutionalized racism is built into the field of journalism itself,” Carl Bybee, University of Oregon School of Journalism professor said.

The event, sponsored by Flux Magazine and the Agora Journalism Center, had about 50 people in attendance. In anticipation of Flux’s new issue for this term, they offered a platform for new stories, sources and narratives to be shared. Their winter issue will surround diversity, race and inclusion.

Many said they want to see a journalistic approach that is much more focused on community and the telling of narratives as a platform for those who feel they do not have a voice.

Much of the discussion surrounded the media’s portrayal of the black experience, referencing the Emerald’s recent article about how the UO may rename its buildings whose namesakes are associated with the KKK. The piece, several people said, shows how communicating with the voices whose stories are being told is important, as the piece struggled to do that.

“At the end of the day, a good journalist more than anything cares about people,” Flux Magazine writer Whitney Bradshaw said.

Mickey Stellavato, photographer and oral historian for the UO Diversity of Equity and Inclusion, said the PhotoVoice campaign allows for communities to tell stories through taking photos from their perspective, offering more community involvement within journalism.

“Photos become a center point of the conversation,” Stellavato said.

Ibrahim Alessa, UO Saudi Student Association member, said what he wants to see in the new Flux Magazine is the breaking of the stereotypes against Muslims and Arabs, especially through journalism.

“Because of the media, the people causing problems are a huge part of what people know about Muslims,” Alessa said.

Stellavato said Flux Magazine should turn to reporting on all diverse student groups and issues at the UO, including the inaccessibility at Friendly Hall for people in wheelchairs and the placement of student offices on campus.

“No one ever knows about the diversity and social justice work that happens across campus,” Stellavato said. “The location of student offices is very indicative of diversity at UO. Even DEI is in the basement of Johnson Hall.”

Bradshaw said the discussion offered a reminder of how journalism is a platform for the voiceless.

Many people said they would like to have more conversations like this one in the future. Flux Magazine plans on taking the stories they were told during the event to form what will be in the next issue.

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Olivia Decklar

Olivia Decklar

Olivia Decklar is a videographer for the Daily Emerald. You can catch her listening to Hamilton the Musical at full volume any day of the week.