Media outlets are ramping up their coverage of anti-Asian violence following last week’s Atlanta shootings, but many Asian-American journalists feel the issue has been ignored for far too long.
“We have been miserably late,” journalist Connie Chung told CNN’s Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter on “Reliable Sources” Sunday. “We are insignificant, and it’s so apparent to all of us who are Asian.”
Chung said “anti-Asian hate started the moment it came out of President Trump’s mouth,” adding that it started picking up the moment Trump called Covid-19 The China Virus or the Kung Flu.
Anti-Asian hate crimes have more than doubled during the pandemic, according to the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino.
Last week, eight people were shot in Atlanta, and six of them were Asian. Since then, stories about anti-Asian violence have filled the news. President Joe Biden condemned the shooting and said hate crimes against Asian Americans have been “skyrocketing” since the coronavirus pandemic began. The shooting happened several days ago.
The suspect, 21-year-old Robert Aaron Long, claimed responsibility for the shootings, according to the sheriff’s office in Cherokee County, where he faces four counts of murder with malice, one count of attempted murder, one count of aggravated assault and five counts of using a firearm while committing a felony. He also has been charged with four counts of murder in Atlanta, police there said.
But local law enforcement has yet to call it a hate crime.
In response to the shootings, the Asian American Journalists Association released a list of journalistic guidelines.
“Newsrooms were rushing to describe this shooting as not racially motivated,” the organization’s president and Washington Post reporter Michelle Ye Hee Lee said. “For the first time to 10 years, our website crashed because of the traffic.”
Newsrooms across the country are relying on Asian-American journalists to tell the stories of anti-Asian hate as they unfold. And some of those journalists are using Twitter to express their concerns, fear, and need for solidarity.
“We are very much invisible in the newsroom and underrepresented especially in leadership,” Lee said.
In an effort to support Asian-American journalists, journalist Sonia Weiser partnered with AAJA and launched a therapy relief fund on GoFundMe.
“The journalism industry is calling on the most vulnerable to share their stories and provide on-the-ground reporting offering little financial compensation or emotional support in exchange for labor,” the page’s description reads. The fund was created to secure Asian American and Pacific Islander journalists with funding for mental wellness resources needed to process trauma.