Griego: What it will take for local news outlets to (re)build trust with Black community members

Aurora Sentinel: Last week, a few of the state’s larger newsrooms, networks and The Denver Press Club hosted a mixer billed “Cocktails & Conversation” for local Black community members and journalists.

About 50 people showed up, crowding upstairs in the historic downtown club in a hubbub of nice-to-meet-yous and been-a-long-times. Late word of the gathering provoked a mix of curiosity, consternation and criticism among some Black community members. “After watching horrible journalism divide the Black community, I find it interesting that the press is having a diversity mixer,” read one tweet from a prominent Black businesswoman.

The relationship between local newsrooms and Colorado’s Black communities is riven by fault lines. It has had its moments of connection and trust in specific reporters at specific times, but communities of color have for decades seen their lives rendered unrecognizable by stories that have depicted their neighborhoods as full of crime and empty of value. Stories that paved the way for neighborhood disinvestment and displacement. More recently, parts of Denver’s Black community have condemned local news coverage of anonymous — and, an investigation later determined, unsubstantiated — sexual assault allegations against Denver school board member Tay Anderson, a Black man.

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