Whither goes diversity in the age of layoffs?
Even in this season of conventions featuring journalists of color, the question seems overshadowed by the rising ranks of the unemployed. People who have spent decades advocating for justice, fairness and accuracy in U.S. newsrooms are preoccupied with cutting staffs, rethinking coverage, or knitting their own parachutes.
And in the enterprising universe of dotcoms dotting the landscape of journalism’s uncertain future, the spirit of diversity is taking a beating. So we’re left to ponder a different question with new urgency: What does diversity look like going forward?
Given what’s happened to mainstream journalism, I know this much: the answer has to be different than it used to be. In more optimistic days, we’d focus our attention on traditional newsrooms and push for greater hiring and broader coverage. Neither is likely to happen in the immediate future, if ever because the losses in newsrooms are the result of transient economic volatility and permanent, seismic shifts in how — and how much — people consume news.
So not only is it not enough — and it never was — to recruit at minority job fairs or add extra slots in the internship pool to bring more white women and people of color into the fold, there’s no money to do it anyway.… Read more