More Newsrooms are Creating Diversity and Inclusion Positions to Change Culture

In 2017, the American Society of News Editors revealed that minorities comprised only 16.55 percent of employees reported by all newsrooms in its annual diversity survey, compared to 16.94 percent in 2016. If that trend continues, the lack of diverse voices in newsrooms will continue down a troublesome slope.

But some newsrooms are creating roles to address this issue. In July, the Philadelphia Media Network promoted Michael Days to a newly-created role of vice president for diversity and inclusion. In his position, Days is in charge of three pillars: looking internally at how the company hires, trains, and uplifts staff for upward movement; how the company is viewed externally; and looking at what programs they participate in.

Michael Days

Days believes that the information that the organization puts out should be reflective of their respective communities, and because Philadelphia is becoming more diverse, his position has never been more necessary.

“We don’t have the luxury of just putting information out there anymore and having people believe in it—they need to believe in us as a reliable and diverse source,” he said. “Externally, we have to be really deliberative. Letting people know we view ourselves as one with the community.”

He added that they are involved in pop-up job fairs, listening sessions with readers, and when they do business with others, they make sure they partner with an array of business-owners that are from different backgrounds and ethnicities.

“We’re making progress in the newsroom,” Days said. “We certainly aren’t near the ethnicity and gender demographic for the city proper though.”

But in the last year, PMN has hired six emerging journalists of color. “We’re trying to prepare for ourselves for the present, and diversity is a key piece of that.”

Martin G. Reynolds

Martin G. Reynolds, co-executive director at Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, is partnering with PMN to help newsrooms reflect on diversity in news organizations.

“Journalists aren’t blank slates, we have our own biases,” said Reynolds. “(Journalists) need to realize they have a news organization on the line as well as a community.”

At the Poynter Institute, Doris Truong was recently promoted to the organization’s first director of training and diversity. She evaluates, executes and creates Poynter’s training programs and recruits more diverse participants and instructors.

Doris Truong

“I’m here to help foster diversity across the journalism landscape,” she said. “But I’m not the first person with diversity in their title.”

Both Truong and Days are embarking on the same mission—more inclusive reporting in newsrooms.

“Organizations that actually value diversity and different perspectives are a hard thing to institute,” said Reynolds. “But it can affect change in the editorial process.”

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Published: October 9, 2018

2 thoughts on “More Newsrooms are Creating Diversity and Inclusion Positions to Change Culture

  • October 9, 2018 at 4:32 am
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    Will “inclusion” include people who are conservatives or just liberals with different ethnic backgrounds and genders?

    Reply
  • October 9, 2018 at 7:30 am
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    Something here is very, very wrong. Diversity in the workplace has been assimilated in corporate America for the past forty years and here is an article reporting that more newsrooms are creating diversity to change the culture within. What is most surprising is journalists have supported open borders, immigration and a wide range of programs of diverse benefits for cultures from around the world and yet some newsrooms apparently are now just getting the memo regarding diversity and employment!

    Reply

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