Pittsburgh paper accused of censorship, stops Black reporters from protest

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is being called out by staffers for allegedly barring Black journalists from covering the protests over the death of George Floyd.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette theGrio.com
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on August 26, 2016. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is being called out by staffers for allegedly barring Black journalists from covering the protests over the death of George Floyd.

Photojournalist Michael Santiago is speaking out over the publication’s decision to curb him and at least one other prominent Black reporter from covering anti-racism protests in Pittsburgh.

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Why? According to The Washington Post, the publication does not want the two journalists of color to be perceived as being biased in their coverage.

In a tweet Saturday, Santiago said the Post-Gazette “has chosen to silence” Black journalists “during one of the most important civil rights stories that is happening across our country!”

Alexis Johnson, another Black reporter for the newspaper, is reportedly the first to call out management for refusing to allow her to cover the local protests.


According to Michael A. Fuoco, a reporter for the newspaper and president of the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh, several of Johnson’s pitches for coverage related to the demonstrations were rejected. The allegations of bias came after her May 31 tweet, in which she wrote of the “horrifying scenes and aftermath from selfish LOOTERS … oh wait sorry. No, these are pictures from a Kenny Chesney concert tailgate,” referring to the country singer.

Fuoco told The Post that her tweet showed bias, therefore she was barred from covering all of the protests.

Management also voiced concern that Johnson’s byline on an article about the protest could lead “the credibility of the newsroom [to] be questioned and people might question if I was biased,” he said.

“I thought it was a funny tweet and something to think about, as we’ve seen destruction in the city over the years for different motivations,” Johnson told The Post.

She described management’s response to her Kenny Chesney tweet as “punishment.”

“Journalists of color have been covering these issues for years, for generations,” she said. “Our communities were being attacked and we were still able to report the news fairly. And it’s unfortunate that opportunity was taken away from me.”

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Fuoco said Johnson and the guild had a “rather hostile” discussion with the newspaper’s management over the ban. The paper reportedly refused the guild’s request to “apologize to her, remove the ban and let us just do our job, serve our community.” So Johnson filed a grievance.

Staffers and guild members responded to the controversy by launching a social media campaign in support of Johnson, using the hashtag #IStandWithAlexis. 

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