September 26, 2018 by LaSharah Bunting
News organizations have come to understand this important truth: a deep relationship with readers leads to improved trust, stronger journalism and sustainable business. Yet that authentic connection can be difficult to establish when newsroom leaders and staff don’t reflect the communities they serve.
Diversity in newsrooms is among the biggest challenges facing the industry, yet the commitment to tackling this problem is often insufficient or nonexistent. News organizations can’t begin to offer viable solutions if they don’t fully understand, or acknowledge, the extent and scope of the problem. And, as journalists know, to thoroughly interpret any important issue, you must begin with the data.
Last week the American Society of News Editors announced it was extending the deadline to Oct. 12 for its annual newsroom diversity survey because only 234 out of nearly 1,700 newspapers and digital media outlets responded to the request to submit data this year. In response, Knight Foundation joined Ford Foundation, Democracy Fund, Lenfest Institute and many other funders in releasing a joint statement calling on newsrooms to respond with urgency and submit their employment data. These foundations also announced they will now require annual completion of the ASNE survey for journalism grantees going forward.