In an extensive editorial piece published Feb. 18, the editorial board at The Baltimore Sun apologized for having, “sharpened, preserved and furthered the structural racism that still subjugates Black Marylanders in our communities today.”
Naming a list of "the paper’s offenses," the Sun pointed to its classified ads dated from 1837 about the selling of enslaved Africans and offers of rewards for those who escaped their bondage. The Sun also lamented that it took until 1950 to hire its first Black reporter, and says t’s hired "too few Black journalists ever since." The apology also cited editorials that were hostile towards Black people.
Sun publisher and editor-in-chief Trif Alatzas posted a note on the newspaper’s website that read in part:
“In an editorial today, we chronicle The Baltimore Sun’s history in covering the Black community. We also apologize for The Sun’s failures in that coverage. Too often, The Sun did not use its influence to better define, explain and root out systemic racism or prejudiced policies and laws. And, at times throughout its 185-year history, The Sun actively advocated for inequality... We know we need to do better and are committed to doing so.”
Noting that The Sun was founded by pro-slavery and pro-segregationist Arunah Abell in 1837, current editors promised that moving forward, the paper will hold itself accountable to more inclusive standards.
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“We’re still grappling with improving diversity in our staff and our coverage.” The editorial continued, “Reporting that arises directly from sources in the region’s Black communities has long been lacking in The Sun, largely because the connection is lacking. We’re not out there enough, and we’re not trusted enough. We are working on that, and looking into an impression some hold that The Sun is harder on Black officials than white. Unlike in years before, we’re talking about these issues — routinely — and how to address them.”
The paper also listed a number of current initiatives intended to rectify past practices that disenfranchised both the subjects of the paper’s reportage and the Black journalists employed by The Sun.