Thursday, March 02, 2006

NY Times ‘Diversity Council’: The percentages of blacks, women, and gays employed at the newspaper are too low and that should be changed using a non-quota system

How perfect is this? The leaked confidential report of the NY Times’ Diversity Council reads like a dissertation written in Orwell’s ‘Newspeak’.

The Media Mob at the New York Observer has the story: Times Diversity Report: "A Newspaper at Risk"
After a 10-month study, the New York Times Diversity Council issued its confidential internal report yesterday. The 39-page document, made available to staffers, describes The Times as "a newspaper at risk" on diversity matters and says the paper is "losing ground in comparison to business that are among the leaders in diversity."…

The council was chaired by picture editor Jose Lopez and vice president for real-estate development Hussain Ali-Khan. Managing editor Jill Abramson was its advisor.

According to the report, the Times newsroom is currently 82.5 percent white, slightly less than the industry average of 86.5 percent. Only 14 percent of newsroom managers are minorities, the council found, and there are currently no minorities on the newspaper masthead and only one nonwhite on the company's executive committee.

"[W]omen and minorities remain underrepresented at the Times and minorities are seriously underrepresented in its managerial ranks," the report says.

In 2003 and 2004, three senior managers who were nonwhite left The Times, including managing editor Gerald Boyd, who resigned after the Blair debacle. "This was a major blow to the diversity of the senior management ranks," the report says, "but more disturbing, it exposed the newspaper's lack of depth in diversity among managers."

The council defined diversity in terms of employees' race, gender and sexual orientation. Religious and political differences were not accounted for…

The report issues eight recommendations meant to increase diversity. Senior management, it says, "starting with the publisher, chief executive officer and executive editor, must do more to lead by example." The council does not advocate a quota system, but recommends that all hires be vetted by the recruiting committee with an eye to diversity concerns. Other proposals include creating the position of senior vice president for diversity, increasing bonuses tied to diversity improvement, and developing a mentoring and career-development program.
How would one measure success, enabling you to hand out those bonuses?

Since the council doesn’t want quotas (i.e., the percentages it used to measure/define the problem), perhaps the committee could periodically walk about the newspaper’s facilities and visually gauge the newspaper’s blackness, gynoness, and gayness; rating the spread of diversity within departments as undiverse, diverse, plusdiverse, or doubleplusdiverse. The council could then report its collective sense of observed diversity to Big Brother.. er, sorry.. I meant the Senior Vice President for Diversity.

(Hat tip:


Post a Comment

<< Home