On Thursday, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) announced the recipients of its 2017 Thumbs Down Awards: Fox News and Ebony Magazine.
The award is presented every year to organizations that the NABJ determined to engage in racist, stereotypical, or otherwise damaging reporting or portrayals of the black community or to be engaging in something otherwise at odds with the NABJ’s stated goals.
“We take this award very seriously,” said NABJ President Sarah Glover. “It is our hope that the recipients would re-evaluate their policies and procedures to ensure that they are following the highest journalistic and ethical standards.”
Fox News was chosen not only because of a recent slew of lawsuits accusing the network of “abhorrent, intolerable, unlawful and hostile racial discrimination,” but also because of their rash of sexual harassment suits.
“It seems FOX has allowed a very unhealthy environment to fester,” said NABJ Vice President of Broadcast Dorothy Tucker. “There has to be a level of accountability and it starts at the top. Management has to do better.”
Ebony earned itself the award because of recent reports of staff cuts, the move out of Chicago, and allegations that staff and freelance journalists were not being paid.
“Many of the decisions being made by Ebony‘s new owners seem counter to the vision of founder John H. Johnson,” said NABJ Vice President of Print Marlon A. Walker. “Ebony and its sister publication Jet are near and dear to us. To hear writers whose words bring us much joy aren’t being paid for those words is sad, unconscionable, unacceptable.
“Johnson is probably rolling over in his grave.”