KMGH News (Denver, Colo.). 2004--excerpts, ...the young black customer

Moving Image
Betacam SP
Created: 2004


KMGH News (Denver, Colo.). 2004--excerpts, ...the young black customer
Summary: "This series of reports opened a local, national and international dialogue regarding race relations at shopping malls. The 7News Investigators obtained an audio recording of a conversation between a mall leasing agent and one of its tenants. The inflammatory recording offered a rare glimpse into the marketing of shopping malls and confirmed what many had long suspected. On the recording the leasing agent admitted the mall was trying to 'reduce the negative aspects of the center - - one of them is the young, black customer.'

"At the time of the recording, the suburban shopping center was in the middle of a $100 million renovation including $15 million in tax breaks from the city of Aurora. The tenant wanted to know if his business would be part of the mall's future. While the shop owner knew the management company was trying to improve the mall's image, he was surprised to discover that included changing the color of its customers.

"Our initial story sparked a backlash against the mall and several community leaders called for a boycott of the shopping center. The issue received major national focus after Good Morning America picked up the story. Callers inundated Talk radio shows condemning the tape and newspapers and television stations across the U.S. and as far away as England carried the story.

"Simon Property Group, the mall management company, responded immediately - - suspending the leasing agent and later terminating her after conducting an internal investigation. Simon Property Group also initiated talks with community leaders and promised major changes.

"Since the first stories, Simon Property Group has implemented several new programs at the mall to improve race relations and eliminate the racial tensions. One such program utilizes parents to supervise the underage shoppers. Simon Property Group also hired several African American-owned construction firms to help complete the mall's renovation, as well as increased its number of black security guards at the mall. Simon also committed to hiring its first African American vice president.

"Finally, several other mall management companies have contacted 7News for copies of our stories to use as instructional tools for their leasing agents. "--2004 Peabody Awards entry form.

Corporate Producers: KMGH (Television station : Denver, Colo.)

Broadcast Date: 2004