A newspaper reports a story in their own paper that an audit on race at their paper determines they aren’t doing too well. I guess that’s like grading your own test and sharing with the class that you gave yourself a ‘F’. 

This is one of those blog posts I can get lazy and do a lot of cut & paste because they tell on themselves through this audit…

The Philadelphia Inquirer has an overwhelmingly white newsroom and fails to retain journalists of color, resulting in news coverage that overrepresents people who are white and male, an independent review released this week found.

I think we all knew that already, but if it takes an audit to make it official…

White reporters were more likely to write stories about white people, according to the report, while nonwhite journalists featured subjects who were “far more diverse.” The newsroom is three-quarters white.

Okay! Who didn’t know this already?

…the report describes a newsroom that has for decades allowed racism, discrimination, and cultural incompetency within its walls — an internal culture that many say foments unfair coverage of communities of color.

I’m starting to see a trend.

Journalists of color told interviewers of severe frustrations that cause them to question why they remain in the field.

Why would people of color working in white newsrooms who are hell-bent to stay that way ever think they can come to work and not be frustrated?

Company and newsroom leadership declined interview requests through a spokesperson.

What do you expect them to say, ‘We are racist and don’t know how to change!’

The Inquirer commits to implementing the report’s recommendations. Those suggestions include: hire and promote more journalists of color, bolster community engagement, and take steps to repair The Inquirer’s relationship with marginalized communities.

Blah, blah, blah. Stop lying. 

The Inquirer was not alone. News organizations across the country last spring faced increased scrutiny over how they cover communities of color.

No shit!

Ernest Owens, president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, said while the result of the audit “comes as a surprise to no one,” the data was “disappointing, infuriating, and insulting.”

In other words, when you know your team lost badly, it hurts even more when you see the score.

The organization has made marginal improvements in newsroom representation since 2004, when an internal audit found the newsroom — more than double its current size of 225 journalists — was 82% white. Today, the newsroom is 74% white and three-quarters of editors are white. The investigations desk, considered the preeminent team of journalists, is entirely white, and the breaking news and opinion teams each have one person of color.

Lesson here is that marginal improvement is about all there ever is.

Managers interviewed as part of the audit said there is progress in hiring journalists of color but that those efforts were constrained by, as one manager put it, “the fact that we’re getting smaller, by the fact that we are in a very strong union shop, and there’s not a lot of people who leave based on performance management.”

Finally, an honest answer. In other words, we have built-in protections that keep things the way we want them. We can’t change that. Some folks call it systemic racism, but don’t say that phrase out loud. 

One of the auditors said, The Inquirer faces “serious challenges” that necessitate “some real, difficult conversations. Good intentions aren’t enough, and there needs to be a way to explicitly talk about race because if it’s not talked about directly, then the default is an assumption of whiteness and that we’re writing our stories for white readers.”

What should we expect 17 years from now when they do their next audit? Nothing.