WASHINGTON June 16, 2016 -The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) offer condolences to those impacted by Sunday's shooting in Orlando and implore reporters to avoid erroneous denotations while covering the aftermath.
"It's important journalists do more than recognize this as a mass shooting, but also the overwhelming impact on the Latino community not just in Orlando, but the country," said Mekahlo Medina, NAHJ President. "Journalists must also put the shooting into proper contextwith history."
Sunday's shooting has, on several occasions, been referred to as "the worst mass shooting in American history," which negates several other incidents in U.S. history, many involving minority victims. For example, more than 100 black people were killed in the East St. Louis Massacre in 1917. More than 100 black people were gunned down during a mass shooting in Colfax, La., in 1873.
Suggestions for future coverage include avoiding superlatives altogether, as comparingSunday's tragedy to other incidents in history does it no justice. If the decision is made to add a superlative, Sunday's shooting would count as the deadliest shooting in recent or modern history.
"The loss of life is incomprehensible and the need for journalists to get the story right is vital. That should include varying perspectives in coverage, including how the tragedy has had an impact on the Latino community," said NABJ President Sarah Glover. "NABJ extends its heartfelt sympathies to the NAHJ familia following the loss of one of their dear members, Jonathan Camuy."
About The National Association of Black Journalists: An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization for journalists of color in the nation, and provides career development as well as educational and other support to its members worldwide.
About The National Association of Hispanic Journalists: The National Association of Hispanic Journalists is dedicated to the recognition and professional advancements of Hispanics in the news industry. Established in April 1984, NAHJ created a national voice and unified vision for all Hispanic journalists.
Let's also not forget intersectional identities. The shooting in Orlando also affects the LGBT community, especially queer people of color who are grieving and/or in shock. The National Association of Gay and Lesbian Journalists have some wonderful tips for how newsrooms should cover this story as well.