Feb 3, 2022 - News

Black journalists in Iowa form state's first NABJ chapter

Ty Rushing and Tisia Muzinga are founders of the IABJ.

Ty Rushing of Iowa Starting Line and Tisia Muzinga of KCCI. Photos courtesy of Rushing and Muzinga

When Ty Rushing first moved to rural Iowa for a journalism job nine years ago, the Kansas City native immediately noticed two things.

  • Not only was he the sole Black journalist in the area, but he was of the few Black people, period.
  • "You're like, dang man, where are the Black faces? Where are the people I can talk to that can relate to some of these things going on?" Rushing told Axios.

That experience is why Rushing and other journalists of color have started the Iowa Association of Black Journalists — a local chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Why it matters: The organization provides support and advocates for journalists of color in Iowa — especially as historically white newsrooms try to cover racially sensitive stories like the recent Black Lives Matter protests or book banning in schools.

Zoom in: Tisia Muzinga, president of IABJ, recalled a morning she was anchoring at KCCI.

  • She watched a news package that aired and immediately said that it shouldn't be broadcast again because it was racially insensitive — a perspective she was thankful she could share and wants to help other journalists do as well.
  • "We're here to say this is not appropriate. This is not how we do journalism. And this is not the way that we should report things, especially with our community," Muzinga said.

What's next: Muzinga and Rushing said they want to show journalists of color that they can work in Iowa and they'll have a support system if they do.


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