The Kerner Commission tried 51 years ago. ASNE has been trying for 41 years. Corporations have tried initiatives on and off for decades. And Monday, the Knight Foundation and the Maynard Institute announced the latest attempt to attempt to help America’s journalism institutions diversify their staffs.
The $1.2 million donation could have funded 10 to 15 journalists, but literally throwing bodies at journalism’s diversity problem hasn’t worked. I’m going to be cautiously optimistic that the newly announced Equity and Inclusion Transformation Program could accomplish the goal that many programs haven’t been able to: transform newsroom culture. Or better yet, reset journalism’s perception of race.
The problem isn’t hiring or nurturing “diverse” journalists — it’s journalism’s approach to diversity, which points at “them,” at “others.” To people who aren’t straight white men.
White skin needs to get in the game to make diversity a reality.
As outlined in scores of case studies, especially Pamela Newkirk’s 2000 book “Within the Veil: Black Journalists, White Media,” the quest for newsroom diversity began after 1968 Kerner Report dissected years of rioting in black communities. The report concluded that the news media had failed “to analyze and report adequately on racial problems in the United States and, as a related matter, to meet the Negro’s legitimate expectations in journalism. By and large, news organizations have failed to communicate to both their black and white audiences a sense of the problems America faces and the sources of potential solutions.”
Hiring African Americans to integrate white newsrooms
Read more here: https://www.poynter.org/business-work/2019/why-dont-newsroom-diversity-initiatives-work-blame-journalism-culture/