A blending of cultures: Where we’re from and who we are

In the world of communication, the general public is allowed to interact and engage with anyone around the world through mass media. From the first newspaper in 1609 to black-and-white television becoming a part of the average family home in the 1950s, global communication has been under construction for hundreds of years, proving there is always room for improvement. But, one thing mass media cannot seem to grasp, is the change in the demographic of the general public and how important it is to represent the underrepresented  populations in the United States as well as around the world. 

At Rider, the department of communication and journalism is introducing Tapestry, a program designed to introduce Rider students to more unique methods of media. Methods will include filmmaking and in-depth reporting but, most importantly, it will introduce a community educational presentation that reflects the cultural and diverse life experiences of underrepresented societies marginalized. 

A campus growing in size and diversity, with individuals from different walks of life. experiences and values, deserves to be represented in their way through their voices. Tapestry’s organizer Juanita Carroll says, “I want Tapestry students to be secure in the knowledge that their wings work; hard gritty work and education will get you to your goals.  I hope that all of us, as a community, learn that we have more in common than our differences, and that every culture has a story worth being told and respected. In other words, we’re going for full-circle educational experiences.”

Tapestry aims to encourage students to not only showcase the lives of these alienated people, but to also learn about their social and cultural experiences to fully and respectfully represent them.The misrepresentation of minorities in media is not old news. They have been stereotyped and misrepresented within media for centuries. 

According to statista.com, between 2011 and 2016, a majority of movie directors in the United States were white, totaling 89.9 percent in 2015 compared to the 10.1 percent of minority directors. 

Similarly, minority journalists working at daily newspapers in the United States are uncommon. In 2014, the share of minority journalists in daily newsrooms reached a discouraging 13.34 percent and fell again the following year to 12.76 percent, according to statista.com. 

Although frustrating, the pioneers of mass media must not be forgotten. The daring individuals who have succeeded in the areas of communications regardless of race, gender, class and sexual orientation. 

Pioneers such as Edward Rudolph “Ed” Bradley, an American journalist who was best known for his 26 years of award-winning work on the CBS News television program 60 Minutes as well as becoming the first African-American White House correspondent at CBS News in 1976. 

Oprah Winfrey started her own talk show in 1985 and it became the number one talk show in national syndication and she receivied the International Radio and Television Society’s “Broadcaster of the Year” Award. She was the youngest person ever to receive the honor. 

Ellen DeGeneres’ iconic “Yep, I’m Gay” interview for Time in 1997 led to her own talk show in 2003 winning over 36 Emmys. 

This program aims to shed light on the people that 

lack voices and to encourage students to educate their university and the public while capturing the experience by putting classroom and other instruction to positive and productive use. The goal is not to isolate the margininalized but to intertwine their differences and create something beautiful. 

Tapestry meetings and workshops will be held on the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month during the fall semester from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in Fine Arts 223B. Students can email jcarroll@rider.edu to join the Tapestry Initiative or for questions and concerns.

­            — Qur’an Hansford 

                Sophomore journalism major 

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