In an article for Source earlier this year, New York journalist Emma Carew Grovum outlined 10 steps newsroom leaders can take, and most of them echo this idea of getting involved with groups that support diversity, working hard to identify and hire diverse candidates and then making sure you have plans to help them develop and grow within the organization.
The main thing, she writes, is that it has to be a conscious decision to take action and to maintain it consistently: “This work is not a matter of simply checking a box, but of shifting cultures to be more diverse, equitable and inclusive.”
Similarly, Hilton writes in her column that people doing the hiring need to expand their networks beyond people who look like them, and they need to do more than just call up people of color to ask them for names of journalists to hire.
There’s also the Rooney rule, the guideline the National Football League adopted in 2003 that requires teams to interview ethnic-minority candidates for head coach and other top jobs before making a hiring decision. This practice ensures that teams don’t just always hire from the same pool of white guys they already know. It’s named for Dan Rooney, the deceased Steelers owner, and anyone hiring in any industry can adopt it.
“Sometimes the best of all possible hires is someone who didn’t seem obvious on paper, and then brings something more to the organization — not just the job,” Hilton wrote.
White journalists also can acknowledge these problems and speak up for their colleagues when they see injustices. We have to embrace this issue as a problem for everyone.
Cook told me it can be difficult for journalists of color to raise these issues on their own.
“I’m not vocal about it on a regular basis because many times when people of color are vocal, I have been told it sounds like we’re complaining, or we’re bringing up the ‘race card.’ That’s not the case,” he says. “We do notice there’s a problem and we’re trying to bring it to light. But when we bring it to light, we’re shut down.”
No one of us can solve this problem on our own, but each of us can take steps toward a solution. The more media folks who start doing this, the better odds we have of creating a more robust media ecosystem and a friendlier city.
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Comings & goings
- The first-ever Pittsburgh edition of Sensi Magazine has dropped. The Colorado-based media company promotes a “Canna-Lifestyle” focus (read: legal marijuana). For the Pittsburgh edition, the publishers describe it as a “city lifestyle publication first and foremost that also has a progressive editorial stance around the changing landscape of health and wellness.” When the state eventually legalizes recreational marijuana, these people will be in on the ground floor.
- The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has lost more notable names recently. The changes, in part, helped lead the Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh to go on a byline strike that starts Wednesday, meaning stories and other content will appear without the reporters’ names on them. The PG’s unions have not had a raise in 14 years, the Guild said. Recent departures include:
- Greg Victor is leaving in December to work full-time on the International Free Expression Project.
- Liz Navratil, the PG’s Harrisburg reporter and its representative with the Spotlight PA media collaborative, now covers city hall for the Minneapolis StarTribune.
- Projects editor Lillian Thomas is leaving for the Houston Chronicle, where she will be deputy metro editor.
- Virginia Linn, who was assistant managing editor for features, enterprise, health and travel, also has left because her position was eliminated.
Andrew Conte, director of the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University, writes the On Media column at NEXTpittsburgh with support from The Heinz Endowments. You may find all of his columns here, and you may reach him at PittsburghPublicEditor@gmail.com.