Forum addresses diversity in media

Students, faculty and staff examined how diversity is portrayed in the media and how diversity issues affect TCU’s campus at the 2006 Inclusiveness Conference on Wednesday.Greg Trevino, director for Inclusiveness and Intercultural Services, said the conference is designed to introduce different issues on diversity.

“The Internet, television and movies all show different aspects of diversity,” Trevino said. “This conference is one of the many ways we try to implement diversity for the campus as a whole.”

Keynote speaker Bob Ray Sanders, columnist from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, said to those in attendance that stereotypes are prevalent in today’s society.

Sanders, who is also a professional-in-residence in journalism at TCU, said stereotypes in television shows, movies and broadcast news play a large role in the lives of Americans.

Kristen Svajda, senior Spanish and communication studies major, said she sees a lack of diversity at TCU and the conference is a good way to get students tuned in to what is happening on campus and in the media.

“I think the conference offers a way for students to actually make a difference,” Svajda said.

The conference also featured three TCU instructors, each of who presented several lectures throughout the course of the day.

Amiso George, associate professor for the Schieffer School of Journalism, said minorities are often overlooked in the media.

Nancy Meadows, associate professor for the Alice Neeley Institute for Special Education, said the media often misrepresents people with disabilities.

John Miller, professional-in-residence in the journalism school, used past news coverage of the 1960s civil rights movement, Hurricane Katrina and recent news coverage from TCU News Now to show students how to take national news issues and localize it by using campus media to diffuse potential diversity issues.

Trevino, who helped coordinate the conference, said a big part of recognizing diversity is getting students out of their comfort zones and attending conferences and workshops that will help them make a difference by fighting stereotypes and racial and sexual segregation.

“Race, disability, sexual orientation and women’s issues are all a part of diversity,” Trevino said.

Trevino said he was pleased with student-participation in the conference and hopes that by providing such conferences, students will continue to take advantage of what’s offered.