Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Iowa newspaper editor reflects on what it's like to be a rural Black journalist in today's political climate

Rushing looks over a new edition of the paper.
(Photo by Caroline Cummings)
What's it like for a Black journalist from Kansas City to move to rural Iowa for a newspaper job? Ty Rushing, managing editor of The N'West Iowa Review in Sheldon, joked that he didn't unpack his bags for months when he moved to rural Iowa more than seven years ago. After a few stints at area newspapers, he's now in Sheldon, a largely white community of more than 5,000 in the most conservative corner of Iowa, Caroline Cummings reports for KTVO.

"Being a Black journalist at this moment—when there’s a collective reckoning over the killings of black people at the hands of police and the systemic racism that allows for it—is not lost on him. He has covered protests over George Floyd's death in his community and those around it in Northwest Iowa," Cummings reports. 

Rushing says he has experienced racism, both in Iowa and elsewhere, but said most of his encounters in rural Iowa are positive and he's glad to have frank conversations about race. "For me to say black lives matter—I’ve been wearing this on my wrist for years—I don’t feel like that’s me being biased. I could quit my job tomorrow, get fired tomorrow and guess what: I’m a black man," Rushing told Cummings. "Being able to say that, hey, as a black man I should be able to live and enjoy the perks of being an American without concern or worry or fearing for myself from a simple traffic stop—I don’t believe that’s damaging my credibility as a journalist. It’s simply a human-rights issue."

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