The Asian American Journalists Association created a "few guidelines" for reporting on the Aug. 5 shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. The group's national president Doris Truong explained to iMediaEthics by email that the group sent out the advisory because it "wanted to be proactive, and we try to be when people who are Asian American or Pacific Islander are key to the story."
For example, the group advised:
"The word “Sikh,” according to multiple dictionaries, is pronounced “seek.” However, adherents of the faith use the pronunciation “sik-kh” (“kh” pronounced as in “Mikhail”)."
"A Sikh temple is also called a “gurdwara” (pronounced GOORD-war-ah)."
The association, which identifies itself as a "nonprofit professional and educational organization with more than 1,500 members across the United States and in Asia," also recommended several groups that journalists who need advice could contact, including the South Asian Journalists Association and the Sikh Coalition.
The South Asian Journalists Association identifies itself as a non-profit group with "more than 1,000 journalists" as members in North America, whose "mission includes acting as a resource to promote accurate coverage of South Asia and the diaspora." The SIkh Coalition's website notes that its mission includes "promoting appreciation for diversity through education" and "advocating for law and policies that are respectful of fundamental rights."
Truong told iMediaEthics that:
"We have been contacted by a number of newsrooms, but we have referred them to SALDEF and the Sikh Coalition as the community experts. We also reached out directly to journalists through our partnerships with industry groups such as the Online News Association, the Maynard Institute and Poynter."
As we wrote at the time, the group issued a media advisory related to reporting on NBA player Jeremy Lin earlier this year. We asked how often does the AAJA issue advisories. Truong explained:
"Ideally, we wouldn't have to issue any advisories. We recently updated our 'Handbook to Covering Asian America,' and all journalists should refer to it as a resource when covering issues in the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. You can find it here: http://www.aaja.org/aajahandbookupdate
"We issue advisories as news merits, as happened during the Virginia Tech shooting or the Discovery Channel hostage situation. Sometimes it is in response to repeatedly unacceptable coverage -- as was the case with some of the reporting on Jeremy Lin this spring."
Check out all the guidelines on the Asian American Journalists Association's website.
Hat Tip: Online News Association