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; New Orleans Vol. 25, Iss. 1/2,  (2018): 17-30.
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Abstract: The riots in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland, are reminiscent of unrest that occurred during the Sixties in major cities like Detroit, Watts, and Newark. In 1967, President Lyndon Johnson assembled The National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, better known as the Kerner Commission, with an assignment to investigate the causes of riots and civil unrest in major metropolitan areas across the United States during the mid-Sixties. Among the many questions asked by the Commission, President Johnson wanted to know "What effects do the mass media have on the riots?" Within the conclusions contained in the final report, the Commission noted that while the media made a good-faith effort to factually chronicle the unrest plaguing the nation, journalists "failed to adequately report the causes and consequence of civil disorders and the underlying problems with race relations." The Commission made several recommendations, including encouraging media outlets to focus more attention on significant issues facing African-Americans and improve diversity in the newsroom. But five decades after the Kerner Commission's recommendations, has the media made any progress toward reporting issues important to the minority communities or improve newsroom diversity? Did the media adequately explore the causes and problems that contributed to the unrest in communities like Ferguson, Baltimore, and other cities across the nation? And fifty years later, is the question, "What effects did the mass media have on the riots" in cities like Baltimore and Ferguson still applicable? Repeating History: Has the Media Changed Since the Kerner Commission provides historical context between the media's role in covering race relations, exploring problems facing minorities, and reporting civil unrest during the Sixties and present day America. Using the recommendations suggested by the Kerner Commission, this paper evaluates the state of newsroom diversity fifty years after the Commission's report was issued and discusses whether...