In an era in which comment pieces appear in the blink of an eye, whether a journalist holds expertise in a given field or not, Media Diversified decided to step in by holding free and fair elections for the trashiest journalism of the year.
Media Diversified, where I am an editor, is an online platform for BAME writers and a campaigning organisation working for a stronger UK media.
The Trashies – think a news media equivalent to Hollywood’s Razzies – were created because we believe in the importance of a free, fair and representative press.
These awards challenge journalism that’s lazy, bigoted, ill-researched and misinforming. It’s easy for writers to avoid reading the comments and to swerve their critics on Twitter but we want audiences, especially audiences of colour to come into the conversation and discuss the problems of journalism that makes space for racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia.
Individual articles or UK newspapers can be nominated using #TheTrashies on Twitter or Instagram before 18 March 2016 and as long as your submission meets our guidelines it will be longlisted. After that the voting opens, and you can cast your votes until the end of the month. Winners of the two polls – articles and UK newspapers – will be announced on 1 April when we’ll invite your chosen journalists to join us, (although they probably won’t).
The highest polling articles last year were: “If teenage girls want to join Isis in the face of all its atrocities, then they should leave and never return” by Grace Dent for the Independent; “If black Americans want the N-word to die, they will have to kill it themselves” by Piers Morgan for MailOnline; and a series of Tweets by Channel 4’s Cathy Newman which saw her make the false claim that she had been ushered out of a South London mosque.
The Trashies aren’t about personally attacking individuals; they are about creating a forum in which to discuss why communities of colour, already underrepresented in the media, are being depicted in these ways. We want to spark fruitful debate that leads to better, more responsible journalism.