NC news-focused centers to partner on NC newsroom diversity audit

March 17, 2022 

Contact information:  Erica Beshears Perel, CISLM director:; Shannan Bowen, NC Local News Workshop executive director: 


Two NC centers that exist to improve the health of local news organizations and local communities are teaming up to do research that measures and tracks the diversity of staff in the state’s newsrooms. 

Elon University’s NC Local News Workshop and UNC’s Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media are partnering on a diversity audit of North Carolina’s newsrooms. The audit is an outgrowth of the Workshop’s Media Equity Project. As the project’s media companies spent 2021 working to create more equitable newsrooms, the need for a more comprehensive staffing picture and better benchmarking became clear.  

The 2022 Diversity Audit for NC Newsrooms is likely the first of its kind in the state, as it seeks to survey all news outlets regardless of size, location or media platform. The research, designed by CISLM Research Director Jessica Mahone, will be used to guide programming to help newsrooms make progress on diversity, equity and inclusion, and provide benchmarking newsrooms can use. 

The audit will include two surveys: one for organizations and one for individuals. It will include both news and non-news staff at news organizations. The surveys will be quantitative in nature and will cover racial, ethnic, gender, sexual orientation and disability diversity; where applicable, they will use US Census categories to give the data more comparison points. The research aims to establish baseline data about NC news organizations, not to assess opinions or attitudes. 

People who are interested in receiving more information about the survey should fill out this form to receive updates as the audit moves ahead.  

ABOUT the UNC Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media: The UNC Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media combines research, education and outreach to help build a more equitable and sustainable future for local news organizations, the communities they serve and the journalists who work for them. The Center, funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the UNC Office of the Provost, runs the UNC-Knight Table Stakes program for news transformation. 

ABOUT the NC Local News Workshop:  The NC Local News Workshop was established in summer 2020 as a response to the local news crisis in North Carolina. The Workshop has a three-part mission: connecting people across our local news ecosystem; convening people to solve challenges across our ecosystem; and building capacity through resources, coaching and other assistance. The Workshop is working to drive a shared vision for North Carolina’s news and information ecosystem by prioritizing inclusive, community-focused programs.