In her column, Minority Reports, Jennifer Vanasco analyzes how the mainstream media covers social minorities.

One of the tough things for journalists writing stories about unfamiliar minority groups is getting the full context. That’s why one of the things I’m thankful for this year is all the bloggers, activists, and media watchers of social minorities who take the time to explain which things make them angry, or frustrated, or happy — and why. Here are five sites that I think do a good job giving readers a sense of their group’s culture or politics, or that point out stereotypes in the media. These are in no particular order and in most cases are not the best-known sites, just ones I’ve found particularly useful.

Richard Prince’s Journal-isms — Journal-isms, which runs both at The Root and the Maynard Institute (both excellent sites themselves) is a comprehensive look at the week’s news from an African-American perspective and includes looks at other minority issues. Prince pulls from research studies, polls, news stories, and his own reporting to give an overview of the most important stories of the week from his perspective. And he lists other links to reporting and opinions with interesting takes.

New Civil Rights Movement — You’re probably familiar with the granddaddy of gay sites, the Advocate; if you’re gay, male, and living in a city, you’ve almost definitely heard of Towleroad, an LGBT news and pop culture site that’s a nice mix of earnest and snarky. But one of the best gay news and opinion sites is David Badash’s The New Civil Rights Movement (full disclosure: I’m a contributor). Though NCRM began as a site that focused on gay marriage, it has expanded to writing about progressive politics, particularly issues that touch on women and ethnic minorities. As Badash says in a post on the site, the purpose of the site is to “help both LGBT and non-LGBT people see and understand our issues more clearly.” And that’s exactly what it does.

Feministing — While the pop culture-ish Jezebel and the truly excellent XX Factor blog from Slate both write about women’s issues from a feminist perspective, and The Atlantic has become the go-to publication for lengthy discussions of women’s issues—its website recently debuted a devoted vertical called The Sexes—Feministing stands out. The site looks at the entire world from a feminist perspective, broadening its scope to include not only provocative posts and commentary on women’s issues but also transgender issues, international and domestic politics, and racial issues. If you want to see the full range of what women’s rights advocates care about, this is a good place to start.

8 Asians — This site started as a collaboration of, yes, eight Asian American and Asian Canadian bloggers of different ethnicities. Now about 15 contribute, writing about pop culture, politics, and breaking news. Though there’s not usually a lot of analysis, I like the quirkiness of what each blogger finds interesting. The site does a good job bringing to light Asian American-related news that may otherwise be hidden in the daily glut, like their post on how Asian Americans have a higher probability of being born with a cleft lip.

Sidenote: I also really like I am KoreaniamKoreAm.com, the blog of KoreAm magazine. Though the site is mostly quick hits of news interesting Korean Americans, it also offers fascinating long pieces from its magazine about everything from events in history that made an impact on Korean Americans to profiles of entrepreneurs. By the way, you probably know that most groups have an organization that releases journalist guides to covering their issues — the Asian American Journalists Association has a very helpful one that includes a calendar of significant annual events usually overlooked by the press.

The Wise Latina Club — Viviana Hurtado started her blog in 2010, writing about politics for Latinas who don’t follow politics. Unlike many bloggers, Hurtado is a journalist, one with a PhD from Yale. She’s done some of everything: covered a Mexican presidential election for The New York Times, reported as ABC’s DC-correspondent, and currently writes a political column for Fox News. Her site is really a primer on politics from a Hispanic point of view, explaining to her Latina readers what issues should matter to them and why. But for non-Latina readers, it also gives a good sense of what phrasing makes Latinas cringe and what issues excite them or tick them off. Plus, Hurtado’s crack analysis and sly humor make The Wise Latina Club a pleasure to read.

So, those are five blogs that I find help me cover various minority communities. But I have others on my list, and I know you do, too. Feel free to share in the comments which blogs and websites about social minorities that you’re thankful for. I’d love to check them out.

 

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Jennifer Vanasco is a is a news editor at WNYC and the former editor in chief of MTV Network's LGBT news site 365gay.com. She writes about social minorities, national politics, and culture. Her award-winning newspaper column on gay and women's issues ran for 15 years.