Corrections and clarifications: An early version of this story had incorrect figures for Corpus Christi’s newsroom. It has since been updated.
Our greatest vulnerabilities have been exposed by a relentless global pandemic. Our country’s gravest sins were brought into the glaring light of a Memorial Day sun as the final breaths of one man were snuffed out by the inhumanity of another.
Will this be the year when everything changes? Will that change be lasting?
At USA TODAY and Gannett’s 260 other local daily news organizations, we are working hard to document the story as it unfolds.
But our job as journalists does not end at the first draft of history. Far from it.
In exposing wrongs, shining a light on injustices, celebrating good works, curating experts who help identify solutions to our greatest challenges, journalism plays a vital role in creating a brighter future. In sustaining our democracy.
And so, at a time when the impact of quality journalism has never been clearer or in greater demand, thoughtful introspection is required.
There is broad consensus among business leaders and public officials that the values of diversity and inclusion are moral imperatives. There’s a growing understanding that they are equally vital to better business results.
This has always been true, especially in journalism. How can we hope to fully understand the issues and needs of our communities if our newsrooms don’t reflect the people we serve?
And yet, across the nation, newsrooms continue to struggle with a lack of diversity –– especially in leadership ranks, including some of our own. We must do better.
Diversity and inclusion are choices, not just words.
Today, USA TODAY and our local newsrooms are publishing a census that documents the number of our journalists who are female, Black, Indigenous and people of color, putting our staffs in context of our communities’ demographics.
We are committing to achieving gender, racial and ethnic parity by 2025 and will report our progress annually.
As a whole, our news organization has much work to do to achieve this goal, but there are clear signs of progress among many of our newsrooms, including:
- Newsrooms such as El Paso and Corpus Christi in Texas now have majority diverse leadership teams. El Paso’s newsroom is 58% BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color). More than half the El Paso newsroom and its entire leadership team is Latino — while Corpus Christi’s is 47% diverse with 60% diversity in leadership.
- Many of our newsrooms have women in top leadership and management roles. USA TODAY, for instance, is the only major national newspaper with a female editor-in-chief and has a leadership team that is 57% female.
- Of the 11 promotions this year into top editor jobs throughout our local network or senior leadership at USA TODAY, eight employees are BIPOC and seven are women.
I want to acknowledge the gaps in these reported demographics. They do not completely represent our diversity nor do they quantify fully how far we must yet go to be truly representative. Specifically, these numbers fail to capture sexual orientation or gender identity. These statistics have not been previously incorporated into our human resource reporting or in the U.S. Census.
Gannett is committed to creating a culture where every employee feels safe, included and championed for their full identity. This week, the company announced important steps to expand our demographic data to be more inclusive by providing employees the opportunity to be heard and voluntarily self-identify as diverse in ways beyond race and ethnicity, such as identifying as LGBTQ.