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Minority and private businesses rate media coverage

Eighty-eight percent of minority and independent business owners who have been interviewed by the media say the story that resulted was fair and accurate.

However, 83 percent of respondents said reporters must improve their understanding of business.

These findings are a part of new research on coverage of minority-owned and privately-held businesses from The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism.

The research, which was released July 25 at the 2008 UNITY Convention in Chicago, is comprised of two studies, one based on 400 interviews with private and minority business owners and managers throughout the United States. The second takes a look at the journalist perspective through the survey of 125 U.S.-based business journalists.

“Private and minority-owned businesses play important roles in the community, but too often have been overlooked in coverage that focuses on big business,” said Andrew Leckey, Director of the Reynolds Center. “We found that both the business owners and the journalists want to see this change.”

Despite the high percentage of business owners who said they were satisfied with coverage, 68 percent of respondents say business reporters too often ask slanted or misleading questions.

Still, 55 percent disagree that the media is in general biased in its coverage of minority and women business owners.

Most business journalists say they only occasionally cover minority-owned businesses, but not for a lack of reader interest. In fact, eighty-four percent of journalists disagree with the notion that today’s reader has little or no interest in minority-owned businesses.

Journalists were also asked about barriers to coverage and distrust of media by business owners.

For the complete reports:

Survey of minority and independent business owners

Survey of business journalists

In Research, Reynolds Center research, Tools.

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