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The Wisconsin Watch staff shares in the pain and outrage felt nationwide following the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Rayshard Brooks and others on a long list of Black lives brutally cut short by police.
Their deaths force us to reflect on the human costs of social, economic and political systems rooted in white supremacy that throughout history have disproportionately harmed Black, Indigenous and other people of color in the United States.
We acknowledge that we can and must do better. At the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and Wisconsin Watch, its news outlet, we seek to protect the interests of people in vulnerable circumstances, expose wrongdoing and deficiencies in systems, and explore solutions to problems. We do this by valuing truth more than perceptions of objectivity, and we refuse to lend a “both sides” journalistic stance to questions surrounding human dignity.
We affirm publicly that Black lives matter. We commit ourselves to anti-racism — in our coverage and within our newsroom.
Without such a commitment to truth-telling, we cannot accurately report on the lives of people in Wisconsin, where hate and some of the nation’s worst racial disparities persist in education, income, health, housing and the justice system.
These are just words until we demonstrate action.
We pledge to:
- Investigate and expose the histories and disparate impacts of systems on the lives of people of color.
- Explore solutions to problems not just through the perspectives of experts traditionally sought out by journalists, but also through the lived experiences of people who are finding ways to navigate existing societal systems.
- Embrace anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusiveness in all of our journalism, and in our own newsroom, including collaborative efforts, the framing of news coverage and selection of news sources, plus in our training activities, hiring and retention practices, and workplace operations.
- Listen to your story ideas and welcome your contributions to our opinion and letters to the editors pages as forums for all voices.
We will get some things wrong, and when we do, we will admit it, listen, learn and improve.
We are going to hold ourselves accountable — in reports to you — and we hope that you will provide your perspectives about our coverage.
Please send comments, suggestions and questions to email@example.com. They will be shared with the Wisconsin Watch staff, the Center’s Board of Directors, and its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force.
We want to better serve our community in Wisconsin, and with your help, we will.
Wisconsin Watch staff
Dee J. Hall