Media itself is changing rapidly and in Chicago we have a new player in the game, the Chicago News Cooperative. Laura Washington gave them a tongue lashing for the total lack of diversity they are starting out with:
Nearly every staff member they have named so far is white -- and male. The co-op's board is white, all but one male. I would venture there are vast swaths of the city they don't know and rarely traverse....But wait! The Co-op responds:
If these reporters and editors check with the U.S. Census, they will discover that Chicago's racial and ethnic base is majority-minority. There are far more people of color than whites. Latinos are Illinois' fastest-growing minority group. A good half of the Chicago region is female.
Some might call it arrogance, hubris or just plain racism. I don't know about that, but to me it's just plain folly.
Jim O'Shea, the former Chicago Tribune managing editor who last week announced the Chicago News Cooperative...says he intends to have a diverse staff and board of directors....O'Shea envisioned eventually having 20 to 25 staffers. "I am interviewing a candidate as we speak who will bring to us some diversity," he said.As I wrote on a listserv about this topic, are they going to be hiring a Wiccan lesbian of color? A candidate? Come on...If this is the response that the Co-Op is going to send out after getting called out on their almost-all-dude, but still all white club, then I doubt that much will come from the Co-Op in terms of stories that truly reflect the diversity of Chicago.
That said, I know many under or unemployed journalists in this windy city who can bring a world of difference to your project Jim. So once you're done hiring that one candidate who will bring you diversity, get to work on bringing in a whole team of diverse candidates.Then maybe I'll read what your team brings to the table. And believe me, I'm hungry.