Journalists group hits Sun-Times on 'Fright 214' headline

July 9, 2013 at 4:58 PM
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SAN FRANCISCO, July 9 (UPI) -- Asian American journalists said "Fright 214," a Chicago Sun-Times headline about the Asiana Airlines crash, "probably" shows lack of diversity at the newspaper.

The Asian-American Journalists Association, based in San Francisco, said in a statement Tuesday "some who saw" the Sun-Times headline on a report about Saturday's fatal crash of Asiana Airlines Flight 214 at San Francisco International Airport took offense, contending it "perpetuated the oft-used stereotype of an Asian accent."

The organization said Sun-Times Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Jim Kirk said in an interview Sunday the newspaper's editors had not considered the play on words might be understood as offensive but were trying to "convey the obviously frightening situation of that landing."

"There was nothing intentional on our part to play off any stereotypes," Kirk said. "If anybody was offended by that, we are sorry."

"While we at the Asian American Journalists Association are willing to give the Sun-Times the benefit of the doubt, the headline used to accompany the paper's coverage was certainly unfortunate," the AAJA statement said. "An editor should have caught the racially tinged wording.

"If the Sun-Times' copy desk is like many others in newsrooms across the nation, it probably lacked the diversity of voices on staff that might have questioned the appropriateness of the headline," the organization said.

The statement called on "America's newsrooms" to do more to "reflect the diversity of our nation."

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