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Newsroom diversity mongers should look for opportunities to re-create ethnic publications instead of counting layoffs by race 7/6/08

Posted by Steve Boriss in EthnicPublications.

Since there has been a long-term push in the newspaper industry to increase the number of minorities, I guess it’s not surprising there’s a movement to layoff minorities last. To me, it’s always seemed a bit racist to assume people would think or write differently based on the color of their skin, but let’s for a moment assume they do. Why not take advantage of minorities’ uniqueness to build audiences who share their worldview?

More than a century ago, many cities were flooded with a variety of newspapers in different languages, and designed for different ethnic groups. The cost of printing and the de-ghetto-ization of America made many of these papers vanish, but online publishing could once again allow them to be profitable. With more calls for imagination, and fewer cries about victimization, new news jobs for minorities might soon appear.


1. knackeredhack - 7/7/08

Steve, if I were starting a newsroom from scratch today I would make sure that it contained a highly diverse group of people, of ages, ethnicity, religious and non-religious affiliation, and from different professional backgrounds, from the tech savvy to the tech illiterate. I’d place PhDs next to high-school drop-outs. I’d then ensure that this group discover the benefits of collaboration. There would be a lot of noise and disagreement and everyone would probably hate me. From such an environment I suspect the problem might be solved of how to find and retain a loyal audience that advertisers will support.


2. Steve Boriss - 7/7/08

That sounds good, but I’d ask you if that’s really the best way to attract the largest audience. People like hearing from those whose worldviews they share. Perhaps market fragmentation is the answer.

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