María E. Len-Ríos, associate dean and public relations professor, recently co-edited and was a co-author in the second edition of “Cross-Cultural Journalism and Strategic Communication: Storytelling and Diversity.” The textbook is also co-edited by Earnest L. Perry, associate dean for graduate studies at the Missouri School of Journalism.
The book is a collaborative project featuring 17 authors, many of whom are former journalists, national thought leaders on diversity and communication professionals, who provide guidance to students and professionals to help them navigate the nuances of diversity in storytelling.
“This book is an answer of what we can talk to our students about when they need to cover difficult stories related to culture, which comes up in the news every day,” Len-Ríos said.
The first edition of the book published in December 2015 with the goal of becoming a resource for students and professionals engaging in writing stories about cross-cultural topics, such as religion, crime, gender, sports, health inequities, age/generation, immigration, international storytelling and social class. The second edition builds on that concept with recent and relevant updates.
“Our culture has changed since we came out with the first edition,” said Len-Ríos. “The culture of journalism and the way it is practiced with changing technology, with changing public attitudes towards journalism, the different relationship journalists have with institutions and power and audiences have all changed the way journalists and communication professionals think about journalism.”
One of the textbook chapters, “Telling—and Erasing—Diverse Stories in Sports Media,” is authored by Welch Suggs, associate professor in journalism and associate director of Grady Sports Media.
“Every issue in society is refracted through sports in some way,” Suggs said. “In fact, sports offers us a platform to discuss some of these issues in a way that may be a little less fraught or a little bit easier to talk about because it is a second reference. We are able to wrestle with it without it being a matter of endangering our personal sense of identity.”
Len-Ríos says the response from students has included some students remarking that they had read the textbook cover to cover. She credits the interest to the accessible narratives used by the chapter authors.
“They write it in a way that draws you in and you become interested to learn what is at the end of the chapter,” Len-Ríos said.