Chicago mayor sparks controversy by prioritizing reporters of color

Midwest

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is pushing back on accusations that she is choosing which reporters she’ll grant interviews.

This week, Lightfoot created waves when she declared she’s prioritizing Black and brown reporters for media requests. She is now doubling down on that stance but clarified her reasoning in a social media post on Wednesday.

“It’s a shame that in 2021, the City Hall press corps is overwhelmingly White in a city where more than half of the city identifies as Black, Latino, AAPI or Native American,” Lightfoot said on Twitter. Diversity and inclusion is imperative across all institutions including media. In order to progress we must change. This is exactly why I’m being intentional about prioritizing media requests from POC reporters on the occasion of the two-year anniversary of my inauguration as mayor of this great city.”

Some reporters in Chicago are angry about the mayor’s decision. A Chicago Tribune reporter said he declined an interview with the mayor despite being granted one.

“I am a Latino reporter @chicagotribune whose interview request was granted for today. However, I asked the mayor’s office to lift its condition on others and when they said no, we respectfully canceled. Politicians don’t get to choose who covers them,” Gregory Pratt said on Twitter.

Bella Bahhs is a columnist for The Triibe — a digital publication focused on issues impacting Black Chicagoans — who says she supports the mayor’s decision. 

“It’s not every day that Black journalists, Black and brown journalists, have an opportunity to talk to the mayor,” said Bahhs. “Chicago media is overwhelmingly white. I think that the outrage from white journalists, from white new media outlets across the nation, speaks to their privilege. And the fact that the Chicago Tribune could decline an interview with the mayor says a lot about their privilege.”

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