Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton over at Buzzfeed put together a list of 39 tips from journalists and writers of color and it’s awesome. Look:
1. “Don’t stress out about ingratiating yourself with The Media Scene.”
Read a lot of what interests you, and don’t feel bad if what interests you isn’t the cover of the New York Times every morning. Obviously you should keep up with world events, but don’t think that being able to speak at length about every A1 Times story is necessarily important. Write more than you read. Do things/go places that make you feel scared. Don’t be afraid to be passionate and earnest; detached irony is dead. Treat interns and HR people and everyone else in your office with the same level of respect you give to your direct colleagues and boss. Be as kind as your constitution will allow to everyone both in and outside of your office. Get into the habit of talking to people and asking them questions about their life, and don’t do the thing where you zone out of conversations until it’s your turn to speak — actually listening to people and the world around you is like 35 percent of being a good writer. Don’t surround yourself only with other writers/journalists/media people; self-imposed insularity is the fastest way to smother your creativity. And don’t stress out about ingratiating yourself with The Media Scene. A lot of the parties suck.
—Cord Jefferson, writer
2. “Don’t feel like you have to do the ‘racism beat.’”
Be tenacious. This applies to everyone, but especially to young journalists of color: Make yourself indispensable. Dispel any rumors, however quiet, that you are just there for a “quota.” When you grow bolder: Challenge the status quo. Nearly every major newsroom is overwhelmingly white and male: Do something about it. Refer your capable friends to positions. Push that job openings be made public. Leave the door open for others like you. Don’t feel like you have to do the “racism beat”; advocate for stories about race and privilege, but don’t feel obligated to write them — journalism should teach both the writer and the reader. Write what’s important to you. You’re not the grand poobah of all things Asian/Latino/black/mixed-race. Your colleagues are journalists; they need to know how to figure it out themselves. There are communities out there for you — you just have to find them, and it takes a little work. Never hesitate to reach out to someone, over any medium, for advice or, sadly, commiseration. Don’t collude, collaborate: Your voices are important, and together they are stronger and louder. Start projects that get your words out there. Surround yourself with people who get it.
—Anonymous, editor at news website
There are 39 tips in all, and you should totally read them.