The Guild later tweeted about this petition:

The Post-Gazette could have picked a better time to start worrying about bias. The newspaper’s own publisher, John Block, tweeted a photo of himself with candidate Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election, an inconsistency pointed out by Chris Potter, a former politics reporter at the Post-Gazette who now works at WESA-FM.

Since newspaper publishers oversee both news and opinions, that would have been a good time to say that the Post-Gazette was taking steps to separate the publisher’s opinions from the newspaper’s news coverage.

Beyond what’s happening at the Post-Gazette, we all need to do better to support Black journalists.

We need to encourage more young Black people, and young people of color, to work in journalism. Every summer the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation holds the Frank Bolden Urban Multimedia Workshop. The event this year has been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Point Park University plans to hold free virtual workshops for all young people interested in journalism, multimedia storytelling, moviemaking and more.

When I see the Black Lives Matter events happening across the country now, I hope that some of the young people who are marching will see journalism as a way to tell honest stories that right wrongs and make our communities better. If you know any young person who wants to learn how to use journalistic tools to tell stories they see happening, please encourage them to register here and to attend.

As white journalists, we need to do a better job of supporting the Black journalists who do join the profession. We need to actively participate in groups such as the National Association of Black Journalists and the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation to show our solidarity and support.

We need to hire more Black journalists. Pittsburgh’s newsrooms are not nearly diverse enough. While the city is 23 percent black, the Post-Gazette’s newsroom is about 10 percent black, the Guild’s president told The Washington Post. And if we’re being honest, the Post-Gazette has probably done a better job than most Pittsburgh newsrooms at hiring Black journalists.

It’s also not enough to just hire Black journalists; they need to see a clear path to leadership. The best way to do that is to make sure newsrooms have Black leaders and to mentor young Black journalists. If you see bias in a young Black journalist’s tweets, you work with that person to suggest what they could have done differently. You don’t simply move them to a corner of the newsroom.

All of us — including the white public — need to do a better job of supporting Black journalists.

The Black Media Federation is celebrating Juneteenth, the commemoration of slavery’s end in 1865, by hosting a Thursday night series of online discussions, streamed on Facebook. The organizers are planning to talk about contemporary issues, while also highlighting the work of Black journalists who came before, like Robert Lee Vann, Ida B. Wells, and others.

It doesn’t cost anything but time to watch the live stream, and you might gain a new perspective while showing support.

The founding director of the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University, Andrew Conte writes the On Media column at NEXTpittsburgh with support from The Heinz Endowments. You can find all of his columns here, and you may reach him at PittsburghPublicEditor@gmail.com