This study sought to identify factors that influence the cultural competence of student journalists covering urban neighborhoods. The findings indicate that professional norms, including objectivity, contribute to a culturally competent approach to community reporting. An over-reliance on these norms, however, can hinder culturally competent reporting. Empirical support was found for previously identified dimensions of cultural competence: awareness, knowledge, and skills to interact effectively with people from different cultures, as well as that the ability to negotiate an “insider” or “outsider” status. The study provides the possibility of a new norm for community journalism-to promote understanding across cultures.
Cultural competence has been embraced by a number of professions whose members interact with culturally diverse communities. Yet the concept has been criticized as being narrowly conceived and ill-defined and lacking effective measures. This study attempts to refine the definition and measures of cultural competence, applying the concept through a textual analysis of the multimedia news texts of student journalists reporting on inner-city communities.