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Letter of Contempt

The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) addressed an open letter to the founders of news media startups today calling for diversity. The letter, also sent to NABJ members through email, reads in part:

“Many of us wondered aloud if this entrepreneurship might also include new and more effective approaches to achieving diversity and inclusion in newsroom staffing and news coverage. After all, these startups will exist primarily on digital platforms, where African Americans and Latinos are proportionately larger consumers of news than whites. But our excitement has turned to concern as the parade of recent hires hardly reflects a commitment to ensuring that these new newsrooms reflect all the communities they will cover.”

Media startups named in the letter include Vox Media, First Look Media, The Marshall Project and FiveThirtyEight, all of which have hired industry vets—a move the NABJ believes demonstrates that diversity may not be much of a priority. The letter continues:

“Old relationship networks have become a 21st century club that is predominantly male and almost exclusively white. This club is familiar with, and hires, its own. This has been the trend in legacy media. The same will happen in these new outlets if new relationships are not forged.”

Pulling in rapper Jay-Z’s “Public Service Announcement,” the NABJ wrote, “Allow us to reintroduce ourselves,” in an effort to forge an ongoing partnership by inviting such companies to the organization’s annual sumer NABJ Convention & Career Fair.

Read the full letter here.

Image courtesy of Bogdan Suditu

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Tre’vell Anderson

Tre’vell Anderson

Tre'vell is a student in Stanford's Graduate Program in Journalism. Originally from Charleston, SC, he earned his B.A. in Sociology from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. He is interested in race, gender, sexuality and other social issues.

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