UNITY: Diversity Caucus can help push diversity ahead even in trying times
Editor's Note: UNITY President David Steinberg prepared this summary of the Diversity Caucus gathering of industry and academic leaders last week in Washington, D.C.
This month, UNITY: Journalists for Diversity convened a Diversity Caucus to bring together leaders representing more than 50 media and journalism academic organizations from across the country.
We're still sorting through the feedback and reports from our participants, but I want to give you an early snapshot of some very encouraging news about the importance of diversity:
- News leaders value the chance to focus on two key areas of diversity in journalism: our newsrooms' staffing and improving the coverage of diverse communities.
- UNITY: Journalists for Diversity has identified some specific actions that we can take immediately to assist our media partners, beginning with helping organizations bring diverse voices to discussions at industry conferences and workshops in the coming months.
We all recognize that the past five or six years have been enormously disruptive for newsrooms everywhere. And it has been hard for many to keep a focus on diversity in the face of staff reductions and financial pressures. But we all agreed it’s time to move forward. With the myriad changes in demographics, there are opportunities for news coverage that more accurately reflects our increasingly diverse American society.
One of UNITY’s goals in hosting the Diversity Caucus was to create strategic partnerships to develop and strengthen the programs that UNITY offers, and also enable UNITY to work with organizations to help them achieve their diversity goals. UNITY will work to build on the goodwill among those who attended the caucus to coordinate efforts to make our industry more representative of the communities we cover.
The Diversity Caucus was convened at the National Association of Broadcasters in Washington, which graciously donated the space. We were fortunate to have the support and leadership of Poynter's Jill Geisler, our moderator, who helped UNITY Vice President Doris Truong plan and facilitate the program.
Our keynote speaker was Paul Taylor, executive vice president of the Pew Research Center and author of a new book, “The Next America: Boomers, Millennials, and the Looming Generational Showdown,” which highlights the extraordinary impact of the diversity of the Millennial Generation in contrast to the aging of the Baby Boomer Generation.
We are grateful to all our participants for their contributions and counsel. And this Diversity Caucus was only the beginning of the process.