FRNJ: Media Equity Needed in Atlantic City Mayoral Debate


AC JosepH Media

ATLANTIC CITY — The following is a letter released Monday, Oct. 12 by Clyde Hughes, editor of Front Runner New about the exclusion of the minority press in the Atlantic City mayoral debate on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

Hughes, a journalist for the better part of four decades covering stories from Texas, Colorado, and Ohio, started Front Runner New Jersey under the AC JosepH Media umbrella a little more than two years ago and has set record viewership and visitor marks in 2020.

The letter reads as follows:

Dear Atlantic City Mayoral debate organizers,

I am writing to share my profound disappointment that Front Runner New or any members of the African American or Latino press were not invited to participate in the Atlantic City Mayoral debate on Tuesday, Oct. 13 at Stockton University. As you are aware, Atlantic City is a minority-majority city and the decisions made by the winner will affect these communities greatly beyond the casinos. 

Front Runner New covered the competitive Democratic primary and is looking forward to doing more with the general election race. FRNJ produces news stories and commentaries on the Black community and now the Latino community on a near daily basis at the hyperlocal level. I am a 30-plus-year journalism veteran, most of those at daily newspapers. I was a member of the staff of the Toledo Blade when two of my coworkers won the Pulitzer Prize in 2004. Diane D’Amico, director of news and media relations at Stockton University, is well aware of Front Runner New Jersey and our work.

FRNJ, the South Jersey Journal with Al Thomas, veteran columnist Wilfredo “Wil” Rojas, Earl Harvey of the AC Times and others could have provided the kind of impactful grassroots questions that could have been meaningful and insightful in this debate. While it is likely too late now, I want to stress that you do the minority communities a grave disservice by not including media representatives from those communities to participate. As a former national board member of the National Association of Black Journalists, I call on you all to be more inclusive and more aware of the image you will portray at the debate that minorities are not invested or participating in their political fortunes when nothing can be further from the truth.

I look forward to further conversations on this issue.

Clyde Hughes

Editor, Front Runner New

cc: Marty Small, Thomas Forkin

Principal, AC JosepH Media

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