Getting More Minority Staff Members

By Valerie Hyman, The Poynter Institute For Media Studies

  • Develop diverse personal networks of your own. Use your consultant's talent bank
  • Attend minority journalism association job fairs.
  • Join minority journalism associations and contact their job banks when you have an opening.
  • Consider hiring people from outside journalism and teach them TVnews.
  • Contact unconventional sources like the NAACP, ministers groups, and the Korean Grocers Association when you have an opening.
  • Ask potential minority recruits about their areas of interest. Don't assume the answer is "covering minority communities."
  • Make it understood that watchdogging on matters of diversity and fairness is everyone's job, not just the concern of minority staffers.
  • Once you get diverse voices in the newsroom, listen to them! The biggest complaint from journalists of color is that once they're inside the door, they are not heard.
  • During the job interview, sell the recruits on the job, your organization, the locale, and what you'll do to support them if they decide to join your staff.
  • Read minority publications and listen to minority radio and V programs.
  • "Grow your own" talent:
    Create minority internships.
    Provide new job training, in-house, for existing staff.
    Develop a "farm system" and give feedback over time to promising recruits at smaller news organizations.
  • Give the general public ways to access your organization and staff through workshops, town meetings, newsroom tours, community advisory boards, a Web page.
  • Re-examine the stated qualifications for jobs. Mention skills like ability to connect with or have contacts in Asian community, speak Spanish, etc. (if you need them) and make sure you give value to the very differentness of the applicant to the way your newsroom works.
  • Be looking all the time, not just when you have an opening.
  • Bill Mitchell

    Bill Mitchell is a Poynter Affiliate who most recently led Poynter’s entrepreneurial and international programs and served as a member of its faculty. Previously, Bill headed for 10 years.


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