Diversity Audit for NC Newsrooms: Recommendations from the analysts (page 4)

Recommendations for journalism support organizations, researchers and/or journalism schools

Talent Development

Be transparent about paying opportunities that might be available.

WHY: It has been proven women, people of color and queer journalists get paid significantly lower than their counterparts, so being competitive not only in salary but also in paying opportunities could lead to better retention.
– Eileen Rodriguez

Instruct new and early-career candidates on how to build a network of peers.

HOW: Point candidates to specific organizations and associations that can help connect them to the right people (NAJA/NABJ/JOC Slack/NPA, etc)
WHY: Career development doesn’t happen in a vacuum. You should surround yourself with people that can guide you on your journey.
– Tony Elkins

Create specific, introductory classes and mentorship opportunities for young journalists to wet their feet in new subjects that might seem complicated or otherwise wouldn’t be available to young journalists.

HOW: These opportunities could come through partnerships or through mentors or more seasoned journalists inside the organization. They could be a monthly, or weekly training.
WHY: Retention and growth within the organization.
– Eileen Rodriguez

Recruit more diverse students


HOW: Outreach programs in communities where POC live.
– Tony Elkins

Check in internally with other journalists in leadership positions and do a performance review every year.

HOW: The performance review should both highlight the strong points and weak points that these have noticed, while also keeping in mind the growth aspect. This also is helpful for salary negotiations.
WHY: Internal communication is essential for morale, growth, and, again, retention.
– Eileen Rodriguez


Expand journalism curriculum beyond news creation and production

HOW: Offer coursework on the business of news including strategy, revenue models, product, and audience.
WHY: The marked difference in the amount of news and production staff versus product, strategy, and audience staff is not surprising when you take into account journalism education. Journalism schools should do more to expose students to all functions of the news business and even provide a pathway for study in the business of news.
– Cierra Hinton

Research/data collection

Name organizations that did not participate (in survey)

HOW: Provide raw numbers of newsroom participation, including listing 0 if a news org had zero replies.
WHY: Newsrooms need to be examples of transparency as we seek the same thing from other institutions of power.
– Tony Elkins

Contact or pinpoint a person in the larger newsrooms to participate in the survey in the future.

WHY: Newsrooms are extremely busy and if this was sent in a general email as a request, it is very likely it could have gotten overlooked. Our newsroom is very email heavy, and I could totally see how an email request could have been missed.
– Jamila Elder

Research how hiring more diverse candidates impacts community coverage.

HOW: Look at coverage, beats, story type and traffic and compare highly diverse newsrooms against those with fewer people of color.
WHY: Does a more diverse newsroom mean more diverse coverage of a community? A caveat: Do diverse employees have any say in the type of work they do or are confined to pre-existing frameworks?
– Tony Elkins

Industry/journalist support

Provide shared DEIB training opportunities so newsrooms or journalists that may not be able to take advantage of these experiences otherwise can access them collectively; prioritize areas of concern that the audit highlighted

HOW: Host trainings that newsrooms and individual journalists can participate in that are not cost-prohibitive.
WHY: Training and outside facilitation can be costly. The audit reflected that there are a number of smaller (fewer than 10 staff) news organizations committed to this work. Unfortunately, they may not have access to the resources to provide staff training and development opportunities. By providing those at a reduced cost in a collective manner, you would be providing a service while also fostering a co-learning experience. Additionally, these spaces could also be for journalists that want to do more DEIB development work but aren’t able to do so as a part of their organization.
– Cierra Hinton

“1. Define what diversity, equity and inclusion mean specifically for the journalism school. […] Display this prominently on the school’s home page.”

HOW: Changing the DEI Climate: Recommendations for Improving The J-School Environment
WHY: “An organization can only begin to change if it acknowledges its problems first and defines its own vision of a more diverse and inclusive future.”
– Laura Brache

Support worthy news outlets

 HOW: Fund organizations that promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts within the journalism sector
WHY: Building relationships with local journalists can help stories be heard and can bring attention to issues that may go unnoticed without the local spotlight.
– Adriana Chavela

Make diversity audit an annual or biennial process

HOW: Conduct this audit on a regular, predictable basis. Build a cycle that includes education, recruitment, going public with learnings, and tracking changes/outcomes that come from information shared in the audit.
WHY: If this work happens regularly, folks can come to expect it and know that their participation is highly encouraged. It will also give folks the opportunity to learn about how they can remove some of the barriers that may be blocking their participation currently. It will also give us a means by which to track a shift over time.
– Cierra Hinton

Become an advocate for the industry

 HOW: Promote learning, leadership, and innovation
WHY: It’s important for the people of a community to have the information they need. It’s not about our individual interests, it’s about community interests overall.
– Adriana Chavela


“2. Create a dean-level administrator of diversity, equity and inclusion who would oversee and lead the school’s future efforts in DEI to ensure a community that welcomes and respects all.”

HOW: Changing the DEI Climate: Recommendations for Improving The J-School Environment
WHY: “This person’s responsibilities would include running workshops, training sessions and events, conducting surveys and research and problem-solving.”
– Laura Brache

“3. Create a code of ethics on DEI that would be adhered to by faculty, staff, and current students and that requires and sets penalties specific to community roles. Deans and department heads would be responsible for enforcement.”

HOW: Changing the DEI Climate: Recommendations for Improving The J-School Environment (SARAH LINK)
WHY: Accountability from the groups impacted by the policies whose voices have gone underrepresented
– Laura Brache

Next chapter

"Diversity Audit for NC Newsrooms: Recommendations from the analysts" table of contents

  1. Diversity Audit for NC Newsrooms: Recommendations from the analysts
  2. Meet the analysts
  3. Recommendations for news employers
  4. Recommendations for journalism support organizations, researchers and/or journalism schools
  5. Recommendations for individual journalists