“Journalism is a key piece of the democratic puzzle: it holds up a mirror to society, informs debate, and shows us whose voices matter. Saving journalism won’t be enough: it’s time to reconstruct it.” – Farai Chideya, journalist and Ford Foundation program officer
Journalism plays an essential role in a functioning democracy. That role is threatened as we face a crisis of trust, in part because our increasingly diverse society does not see itself or its experiences represented in so much of the journalism that our industry produces every day. As the country faces a global pandemic, a reckoning over racial injustice, a widening wealth gap and environmental injustice, among other critical issues – all of which are disproportionately affecting people of color – it is more important than ever that the journalism field directly addresses the structural racism that has kept out people of color.
Our job at Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting is to hold powerful individuals and institutions to account. Using the tools of journalism and through the craft of storytelling, we aspire to get as close to the truth as we can. We are guided by our values: to offer dignity and respect to the communities that entrust us with their stories, to partner with local newsrooms that bring unique expertise and depth to our reporting, and to help our audience have a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the world around them.
The only way we can succeed is by making space for more diverse voices, perspectives and experiences at all levels of our organization. Only by doing so will we create a newsroom that accurately reflects our society and produces reporting that can help solve the most deeply entrenched issues we face.
Shifting journalism’s perspective starts with hiring. We redesigned our hiring processes four years ago, aiming to create consistency and equity in recruitment and vetting of candidates, to define the professional and life experience we value beyond traditional paths into journalism, and to cultivate a broad and varied pool of talent for every position. As a result, Reveal increased the percentage of people of color on staff from 25% in 2015 to 37% today.
But much work remains to be done. We are working toward a more diverse board of directors and leadership team that reflect the diversity of the public we serve. And we have proven better at hiring than retaining employees of color, which demonstrates the significant work left to do on the deeper challenges of equity and inclusion: nurturing a culture and developing policies and practices that ensure everyone at Reveal has a strong sense of belonging, pathways to professional growth and development, and support to do their strongest work. Read a summary of our DEI work plan to see how we are currently addressing these issues.
With this report, we share our current staff demographics and the ways we are working toward a more inclusive and equitable organization.
The data used in this year’s diversity report was collected in July 2020. At the time, there were 65 full-time, part-time and temporary employees, as well as interns and fellows at Reveal; 92% responded to this survey.
We believe that the work of diversifying our newsroom and producing inclusive journalism does not end with race and gender. We have chosen to also ask about sexual orientation, ability, economic class, veteran status and religious affiliation because we believe this data provides a fuller picture of the perspectives we bring to our work. In each category, we report information for all staff and for everyone in a management role.
Gender and race or ethnicity
Gender and race or ethnicity of people hired in the last year
Do you identify now or have you identified as working class?
Did you grow up with class privilege?
Do you identify with any religious affiliation?
Are you a veteran?
Do you identify as a person with a disability?
We are committed to making Reveal a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace for everyone. We don’t view this work as a one-time initiative. It is and must be the ongoing work of delivering on our organizational mission and values.
Over the last year and a half, we have taken steps to address key issues, including:
- Adding two women of color to our board of directors and establishing a governance and nominating committee to focus on further diversifying the board.
- Hiring or promoting five editors and managers of color.
- Developing an equitable salary, title, promotion and raise structure, which will serve as the basis for organizational planning and budgeting beginning in 2021.
- Launching an initiative to engage our staff in working groups focused on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI); equitable professional development; and staff recognition, among other topics.
- Revamping our employee review process to emphasize support of people’s desired career paths and to evaluate employees’ contributions to an inclusive workplace.
- Providing newsroom training in implicit bias from the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.
- Supporting our third and launching our fourth cohort of Reveal Investigative Fellows, our program to support journalists of color working in local newsrooms to build their investigative reporting skills and produce an investigation of their own.
2020 has ushered in a long-overdue wake-up call for the country, journalism as an industry and our newsroom specifically to bring a greater sense of urgency and accountability to dismantling the systems and structures that have marginalized people of color. Going forward, we are fully committed as an organization to doing the deeper work to support the advancement and inclusion of everyone on our staff.
To hold ourselves accountable for making progress, we have developed a work plan to manage our DEI goals for the remainder of the year. The plan was developed in response to specific requests made by people of color on our staff and with input from people throughout the organization. The plan focuses on hiring and retaining people of color, investing in our staff’s professional growth and development, and ensuring our journalism is inclusive and representative of the audiences we seek to serve. We will publicly report on our progress at the end of this year and will continue to be transparent in the years to come about the diversity of our staff and the work we are doing to continually integrate our DEI values into every aspect of our mission.