Fair Chance Reporting
Fair Chance Reporting is an initiative of the School of Journalism at Michigan State University.
Our students report on the communities around their campus near Lansing, the capital city of Michigan. Their job is to make sure that the people they interview reflect the makeup of those communities.
If journalism is not planned, people are easily missed — by politics, by gender, by age, race or religion. Some marginalized communities say the news media overlooks them. Incomplete coverage usually happens by accident. Journalists do not set out to miss voices or stories. But it takes intentionality to reach everyone.
The journalism students at Michigan State University are trained to cover their communities with that intentionality. They are taught to reach all the groups in a community and to ensure that journalists give everyone a fair chance to share their voice.
To help them achieve that, the students developed methods and used tools to help them see whether they are interviewing people from across the communities they cover. And to ensure that everyone understands their intentions, they named the initiative "Fair Chance Reporting."
UPHOLDING JOURNALISM ETHICS
Journalism is the story of people and community, so it is vital that journalists reflect all the people in a community. That means individuals who know the stories and a representative range of people, too.
Our mission is to teach student journalists to intentionally reach sources that are representative of their communities.
Communities are made up of diverse groups of people. People vary in age, gender, ethnicity, race, religion, income and physicality. Legislation, policies and events affect us all differently. We all have stories, and each of us should have a chance to tell our stories as we see them.
If we fail to capture all the perspectives in our communities, then we cannot tell the complete story. We must seek the opinions and perspectives of everyone — younger and older, Black and White, liberal and conservative. Otherwise, we risk giving a one-sided view of issues and distorting the picture of our community. Reporting on everyone is not just a nice thing to do. Journalistic ethics demand it.
The Fair Chance Reporting initiative provides student journalists with the principles, practices and tools to achieve this mission.