Friday, October 2, 2015

Cater to The Audience or Represent the City?

Philadelphia Magazine has come under fire again for another misstep regarding race.

Their new issue features "a city parent's guide to schools." But there are no African American children on the cover despite the fact that the Philadelphia School District is about 68 percent black.

The school featured on the cover is the Greenfield School, where students of color make up about 58 percent of the student population.

Philadelphia Magazine does not breakdown the racial makeup of their audience but they state that the average household income of their readers is $176,200 and the average net worth of their readers is around $1.5 million.

Meanwhile, the median household income in the city is $37,192. The Philly Mag readership is thus more likely from the surrounding areas, not the city itself.

So, is there anything wrong with the magazine featuring non-African American students on the cover? If their readership is predominantly suburban and white, are they simply considering their audience with this cover? Or do they have an obligation to represent the city as it is?

Keep in mind, this is the same magazine that published a controversial story about race relations in the city about two years ago.

19 comments:

Robert Wurtenberg said...

I am really tired of having these racial conversations go back and fourth because this all has to do with children.. This is a cover with children on it and I don't think it should matter who is on the cover. It could be all African American children and the argument could be made as to why there were no white children on the cover. I really don't think this was a big deal and it was still sent out to all audiences.

Kira Runk said...

Due to the fact that Philadelphia's schools are prominently African American I think it is in Philadelphia Magazine's best interest to feature at least one black student on the cover. Even today race is still seen to be a very big issue, although I do not know if Philadelphia Magazine intended to malicious by not having a black child on their cover.The magazine has to realize the African American dominance in Philadelphia schools and cater to the reading feelings because not including a black child can cause in anger in the black community.

Nina de Vitry said...

In my opinion, it is simply surprising that the magazine featured only white students on this cover. Although it is impossible to judge whether or not this move was intentional, I find it to be particularly ignorant of Philadelphia Magazine to disregard the statistics and misrepresent a story so blatantly. Situations like this, whether business initiatives or accidental inaccuracies, will only perpetuate the racism our society still endures.

Aiah Alkhars said...

It's a picture of children, and how come most of the time people talk about something not having black kids it it, and never east asian kids, south asian kids, middle eastern kids and Mexican kids. Do people like to make an issue about something that isn't an issue, since its literally just a picture of kids infant of a school.
Maybe the person who took it just saw a group of children.

Morgan Kolakowski said...

It is very tough to judge what the intention of the Philadelphia Magazine was in this situation. I feel that if the school is made up of more than half African American, it would make more sense to have at least some of the children on the cover be African American. Due to the magazine's history of controversy when it comes to race, I feel that it is more possible that they chose all white children on purpose. If that is the case, I think that is wrong because they should represent the city as it is and not show an image that does not represent the true identity of the school. But, overall I don't think this it is that big of a problem, it is an ongoing battle over black v. white and I am tired of the separation the media displays about this issue.

Grace Shallow said...

Since the cover story is titled "A City Parent's Guide to Schools", the blatant disregard to represent Blacks on the cover is very surprising, especially if the Philadelphia School District is 68% Black. Some say that the all white cover is representative of their audience, since readers clearly are not in Philly. You can tell that is true by the large difference between the average household income of Philly Mag's reader ($176,200) and the median household income in the city ($37,192). However, to say not including Black kids on the cover as a way to reflect their more affluent population of readers is offensive and telling of the gap between wealth acquired by Blacks and whites. I feel this cover is reflective of current racial issues experienced in Philly and beyond.

Hannah Amadio said...

Honestly, the magazine is allowed to pander to their audience. If their audience is primarily white, they can feature white children on their cover. Did they represent the city? No,they completely ignored the people who actually make up the population of Philadelphia. However, I don't think they were WRONG to include who they wanted to include on the cover. Its a business, and they made a business decision to make the people who buy their magazine happy/feel represented.

Thomas Beck said...

I believe it was a mistake on the part of Philadelphia Magazine not to include an African American child on the cover. Though it was most likely an oversight rather than a product of malice, the editors and journalists need to be more cognizant with regard to such sensitive issues.

Henry Savage said...

Philadelphia Magazine is the most racist, piece of garbage flooding the streets of Philadelphia. In their article detailing why not to live on Temple Campus because of how dangerous it is, while trying to discriminate against any other group besides white people, showed they are trying to target White Parents in the Philadelphian and suburban area. YUCK!

This cover is literally screaming "we don't care about black people, or any other race" - this magazine is shit!

Jenna Faccenda said...

This isn't the first time Philadelphia Magazine has done something like this. Just a couple of years ago they had the article on being white in Philadelphia. They are not a good representation of Philadelphia. They should of showed diversity and that goes beyond African American. They should of showed Asians, Latinos, African Americans, Caucasians ect. Their audience may be only prominently white, but that is because they are only targeting white.

Anonymous said...

I do understand the controversy with this article/magazine. However, that does not mean that the people this magazine is aiming towards do not exist. Yes, in Philadelphia there are high income, white families that want the best for their children. And no, there is nothing wrong with displaying this in a magazine about where these families live, Philadelphia. It's not always about majority rules, as Philadelphia magazine clearly advocates. Why does race play such a big part in media today? If this magazine was covered with a diverse group of children, the same audience would still read it. Honestly, I think the people who have negative connotations towards Philadelphia magazine are close minded and not open to the multiple kinds of people this city has. And most people who "do care" only suggest changing the name since Philadelphia magazine does not enclose information about the city as a whole. These people, if you ask me, are on a growing bandwagon that is going no where, fast. The content is what people are complaining about, but if any other race except white was on the cover and mentioned in articles, this magazine would be considered a completely different way. It would then become a beacon of hope for the less fortunate. This is only about the racist, growing bias that people follow everyday because instead of taking action and creating the change they want, they would rather complain about it.

- Heather Fass

Anonymous said...

It's a problem that this photograph only presents white children. Race issues aside, it's simply bad journalism to not accurately represent the people within the story. At Greenfield school, the school where the photograph is taken, is 58% percent people of color. With that in mind, I find it to be highly unlikely that the photographer simply just didn't see a minority child to take part in the photograph. When I say people of color, I'm not directly just talking about black- but all minority groups. I understand that some people can make the argument that it does not matter what ethnicity the children are because it would change the story. However, representation is incredibly important. Philadelphia Weekly is painting this false picture about the demographics of the city. They are allowed to cater to their upper middle class, white audiences but they must still first and foremost, cater to the truth. The cover is misleading.


-Taylor Allen

Ashley Paskill said...

While it is important for the media to cover their whole city, the business side of journalism has taken over to the point where they need to cater to what their audience expects so they can make money. People think of "Philadelphia" as including immediate suburbs as well as the city, but it should focus on both.

Anonymous said...

Adriana Vela

I don't think the cover is an issue. I think people need to stop turning anything they read or see into a race thing. We really need to move forward and stop addressing 2 colors of skin when we have such beautiful diversity today. I think maybe in the future, it would be nice to have other cultures like for example indian, asian and latinos and ect. I think diversity would have been a good idea for the magazine,which is why Philadelphia is a great city since we have people from everywhere.

zuri hoffman said...

I think the magazine failed at their goal to represent the city of Philadelphia, but succeed in representing their audience. I don't think the cover should pose too much of a racial controversy, however I do believe that the photographer should have assured more diversity in the picture. Philadelphia is a diverse city, so having at least one minority student represented in the photo seems ideal. I don't think this was intentional, however news Magazines should be prepared for criticism, especially when a large portion of Philadelphia's schools (minority students) are not represented at all in the photo. I think Philadelphia Mag. was simply negligent in not representing african americans and minorities.

Jon Dowding said...

Yes, the magazine is trying to appeal to their audience which makes sense for them to feature all white students on the cover. Regardless, if they're going to title their article "A City Parent's Guide to Schools," then they should be reflecting the current demographic of city schools. Or, to be more specific, they could title the article "A White Parent's Guide to City Schools." That would properly fit their target audience and not make them appear racist. Truthfully it's just naive that they don't have even at least one African American child in the picture. Seriously, African American children literally make up more than half of the student population.

Maggie Labutis said...

This is such a controversial topic to comment on, especially in light of all the civil unrest America has had over the past two years. The Missouri, Kentucky and Baltimore riots are big indicators that we need to come together as a country to solve this issue. With this being said, in most instances, I think it is acceptable for a magazine to cater to their audience. Take Cosmopolitan Magazine for example, it would be strange and unsettling to consumers if they started putting men on their cover photos or showing advertisements of electric razors. However, it is a completely different circumstance when it comes to Philadelphia Magazine. According to the 2015 government census, blacks make up 44% of Philadelphia county. That is 1% less than whites living in Philadelphia county. Based on these statistics alone it would make sense to incorporate black children in their cover photos. The article titled, "Being White in Philadelphia", really does not help their case either. If this article, Robert Huber goes on to say, "Many of those neighborhoods are predominantly African-American. And if you’re white, you don’t merely avoid them—you do your best to erase them from your thoughts." Personally, I don't live this way and I am not attempting to erase one of the largest issues our country is currently facing from my thoughts. If Philadelphia Magazine claims to represent all of Philadelphia then they need to start showing a lot more diversity in their stories.

Brooke Williams said...

Just because their audience is pre-dominantly white and suburban, that does not mean African-American children should be excluded from the cover, especially since non-white children make up a larger percentage of Philadelphia school districts. Philadelphia Magazine needs to start representing the city in its true form and become more sensitive to diversity, especially after running the article "Being White in Philadelphia."

James Dougherty said...

I feel that this magazine in particular should cater to the city it represents because it is called Philadelphia Magazine. If they were to cater to the city they would be able to reach a wider audience and increase sales, rather than focus on individual groups. The magazine needs to understand the people in the city and understand what happens when the publish certain articles. It is important for this magazine to focus on the city it represents and not the smaller groups it wants to focus on.