In the past year, the Columbia Journalism Review has joined other institutions in and out of journalism to look closely at our role in addressing racial injustice. CJR has long viewed itself as both an advocate of the press and a watchdog of media, twin roles that we take seriously. We have an obligation to model best practices in an industry that has imbued us with institutional authority. The stories in this package examine how this magazine has reflected the industry, at moments when we were effective leaders and those in which we were not.
We are acutely aware that media reckonings with racism have become their own genre. We’ve been critical of them for being more performative than substantive. But, as Alexandria Neason writes in the introduction to this package, there is no way to begin the work of confronting a problem other than to begin—“to name the work it has so far failed to do.” She cites James Baldwin, who observed that “nothing can be changed until it is faced,” adding that “my hope is that this project is not so much a reckoning as it is a beckoning—to begin and, when we falter, to begin again.” —Kyle Pope, editor and publisher
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