Media Outlets Are Having Trouble Keeping Up with Hate Crime Reports in Trump Era

It’s been well-documented that hate crimes are on the rise since Donald Trump brought his particular brand of racism and xenophobia to American politics. Though it is typically advocacy groups that do the work of documenting these crimes, there are some media outlets also covering these stories, with ProPublica leading the way. 


According to The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, ProPublica’s Documenting Hate project has not only confirmed hundreds of hate crimes, but also serves as a database, which includes important information about hate groups, for reporters across the country. 

In 16 months, ProPublica’s Documenting Hate project has confirmed nearly 800 reports of such crimes from 5,100-plus tips, and that’s with a still-growing set of collaborators and checkers, says Rachel Glickhouse, speaking to the Collaborative Journalism Summit at Montclair State University. The project has led to more than 120 storiessince January 2017.

The project works in collaboration with 161 newsrooms at the local and national levels and includes ethnic media outlets and university news organizations. Unfortunately, in our current political climate, ProPublica’s work documenting hate shows no signs of slowing down. There are weekly, and even daily, occurrences of hate crimes that require attention and documentation. But we must understand and respond to these crimes using a broad lens. 

Though Donald Trump is not necessarily the cause of each hate crime, he is certainly an enabler and instigator of them. Likewise, we must acknowledge that these crimes are happening in many different sectors of society and are not isolated incidents. Instead, they are reflective of a larger pattern that needs to be addressed. To prove this point, the most recent story highlighted by ProPublica is about white supremacists in the military.

As Poynter notes:

Also recommended is one of ProPublica’s latest efforts on this topic: The active-duty military members of some of America’s most notorious hate groups.

To learn more about ProPublica’s Documenting Hate project, click here

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