The Unbearable Whiteness of Liberal Media

Flickr/Sean Winters

This article has been corrected.

On the staff of The American Prospect, I’m the only member of an ethnic minority. That's not because I bring all the variety the magazine needs, or because the editors don't think diversity is valuable. Everyone on the masthead of this liberal publication is committed to being inclusive—not just of racial and ethnic minorities but of women; gays, lesbians, and transgender people; and the poor.

It's not just the Prospect. Journalism upstarts like Vox Media and FiveThirtyEight have come under fire recently for lack of diversity in their hires, but that's largely because they are drawing from the milky-white pool of “existing talent.” In the corner of the publishing industry that caters to college-educated wonks—a slightly fuzzy designation, but I've included most of the publications my colleagues and I read on a daily basis—racial and ethnic diversity is abysmal.

(Numbers include only editorial staff. Have updated numbers? Send us an e-mail.)

Nearly 40 percent of the country is non-white and/or Hispanic, but the number of minorities at the outlets included in this article's tally—most of them self-identified as liberal or progressive—hovers around 10 percent. The Washington Monthly can boast 20 percent, but that's because it only has nine staffers in total, two of whom belong to minority groups. Dissent, like the Prospect, has one. Given the broad commitment to diversity in our corner of the publishing world, why is the track record so poor?

Corporate America long ago signed on to the idea that diversity—besides being a noble goal in itself—is good for business. Companies with diverse workforces consistently outperform their competitors; diversity drives innovation, and workers tend to be happier at companies that value inclusiveness. But it's even more important in journalism than, say, at an accounting firm. When you're in the business of telling stories, lacking diversity means you're limited in the sorts of stories you can tell—or even think of telling. A newsroom filled with white guys simply lacks the same imagination as one with people from an array of backgrounds. One editor I spoke with stressed that they "choose staff for what they can bring to the magazine, first and foremost," but lacking diversity is actually a prime indicator that you're failing to attract the top talent.

A large part of the problem is simply that no one is keeping track. Unlike the National Association of News Editors, the American Society of Magazine Editors does not track the number of minorities among magazine staff.

Most of the editors I spoke with conceded up front that their record of hiring and retaining people of color was poor, but few knew the number off-hand. Most, however, knew their VIDA score—and remember answering for it. Since it launched in 2009, the organization VIDA: Women in Literary Arts has tallied the number of women on staff and in the pages of literary publications each year, releasing its counts in January. The organization's name-and-shame strategy has been highly successful.

"When VIDA publishes those numbers, it rattles around your head," says Franklin Foer, editor of The New Republic. "It’s a form of shaming I think is actually fairly effective." Foer, who returned to helm the magazine in 2012 after leaving the post in 2010, says after the most recent VIDA count, he and his staff began keeping tabs on the number of male and female bylines in each issue and established a goal they want to reach before next year's numbers come out. Other publications—including the Prospect—have made inroads on the problem after the VIDA counts. "Having analytics and goals and knowing that it’ll just be embarrassing if you don’t do better next year is a pretty strong guarantee that things will be better," Foer says. In my survey, the center-left New Republic scored higher on the racial and ethnic-diversity scale than the rest of its more progressive counterparts save Mother Jones, with 12.5 percent of staff members hailing from minority groups.

The recession, too, took a toll on diversity. At newspapers, the percentage of minorities on staff decreased from 13.73 to 12.37 percent between 2008 and 2012. Anecdotally, the downturn has had a similar effect on the magazine world. Magazine editors offered several explanations for the whitewashing: Publications shrank to their core leadership, cutting off positions in the lower echelons, where members of minority groups are more likely to find themselves; people of color and members of other minority groups disproportionately took buyouts.

In the struggle to stay afloat, worrying about diversity came to be seen as quaint. "Up until 2008, newsrooms—especially large ones—were really really conscious about diversity," says Slate editor David Plotz, whose publication’s staff composition of 75 is about 6.7 percent minority. "The recession made newsrooms very miserly thinking about issues like that. The thinking was, 'We are in survival mode, we are about saving our jobs. This is not an issue we care about.'"

The stagnation of the industry also means there are few opportunities to increase diversity. "The staff here is unionized, which means there is little job turnover," says Richard Kim, executive editor at The Nation, who is Asian American and gay. "We only get to make a hire every four or five years." Among the progressive publications I examined, The Nation scored the lowest, with slightly over 4 percent of its staff hailing from racial and ethnic minority groups.

But the primary reason magazine staffs are so white is structural. "We practice fairly specialized form of journalism and the pool of people who do it isn’t terribly large to begin with, and then you look at the group of people who are practicing at a higher level and it’s just not a diverse pool," Foer says.

The road that ends with a spot on staff at places like The New Republic, The Atlantic, or the Prospect is paved with privilege. It starts with unpaid internships, which serve both as training grounds and feeders to staff positions.

"Most of our staff comes through our intern program," says Harper's editor Ellen Rosenbush. "Do we get as many applicants of color as we’d like? Probably not, but we do get them and we have hired them." There's a straightforward reason for the dearth of intern applications: Those who can afford to rely on mom and dad for a summer or a semester tend to be well-off and white.

While publications like The Atlantic and The Nation have begun to pay their interns minimum wage—in the case of the latter, after an intern revolt last year—most publications offer a meager stipend or do not pay at all. Slate pays its interns $10 an hour. Internships at The New Republic, Salon, Harper's, and the Washington Monthly are all unpaid. The Prospect pays its interns a stipend of $100 per week. On the bright side, a number of publications offer paid entry-level fellowships: The Prospect's pays $33,000 and includes benefits, The New Republic offers its reporter-researchers $25,000, and Mother Jones gives its fellows $1,500 per month. But money's not the only issue when it comes to interns. Most publications put little effort into recruiting for their internship programs, and the fact of the matter is that a black or Latino kid who grew up on the South Side of Chicago is far less likely to have even heard of The New Republic or the Prospect than a white woman growing up on the Upper West Side.

This highlights another key reason the country's leading think publications lack diversity: the industry's reliance on social networks for hiring. The people we know—professionally and personally—tend to have similar backgrounds, and so when editors cast the net to build up the applicant pool for a position, they are largely recruiting people who look and think like themselves. The payroll at the outlets included in this piece draw heavily from the Ivy League or similarly selective institutions. "The original writing and editing batch at Slate came from elite college folks of the old [former TNR editor] Michael Kinsley New Republic tradition, folks who work there came out of that and tended to be white and Jewish and Northeastern," Plotz says. "That perpetuates itself—it’s hard to look for and find people who are not like you." Making matters worse, many outlets don't advertise open positions, instead relying on their circle of professional contacts to fill slots.

If magazines want to make their staffs more inclusive, it requires more than good intentions and a broad commitment to diversity. "To use the 12-step language, first you have to name the problem," says Monika Bauerlein, co-editor of Mother Jones, which has improved diversity in the past several years through concerted recruiting efforts, yielding 12.5 percent of its 40-person staff who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups. "Diversity is something that we emphasize in every posting and that we look to as an important part in the candidates that we talk to."

So what happens if you stress diversity and still end up with an applicant pool that is almost exclusively white? "If you care about a diverse newsroom, you need to constantly be looking down the pipeline," says Ann Friedman, former deputy editor at the Prospect. "It requires you to be actively looking for new staff members, not just perusing the résumés that roll in." That means looking outside one's existing social network and actively asking minorities to apply. When the pool of applicants for the Prospect's writing fellowship was male and nearly entirely white, Friedman says she turned to the blogosphere, which is where the magazine found talented writers like Adam Serwer and Jamelle Bouie. "There are all sorts of nonwhite, nonmale writers all over the Internet," Friedman says.

Besides scouring the Internet, magazines can also increase the number of people of color who apply for fellowships and positions by reaching out to journalism departments at historically black colleges and Latino-serving institutions as well as professional organizations like the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and the Asian American Journalists Association. But the work doesn't stop there. "Even after you find someone you think will be a good fit in your newsroom, if your newsroom is mostly white and male and straight, you'll probably have to convince them they'll be welcome," Friedman says.

But cultivating diversity also means thinking differently about a candidate's qualifications. Because the barriers for entry into journalism are higher for members of racial and ethnic minorities than for other groups, they often come to the process with less journalism experience than their white counterparts.

"The pitfall many managers fall into is thinking that the most qualified candidate is the one with the most experience," says Buzzfeed deputy editor Shani Hilton, who has written about newsroom diversity, and is African American. "But experience isn't the only metric. We're hiring for a mosaic of reasons—it’s not just your clips, but also how you are in newsroom, who recognizes you and also how good you are at Twitter and on the Internet." Recruiting and investing in minorities at the entry level—including intern positions—is crucial if the industry hopes to make progress down the line; today's interns are tomorrow's editors.

The good news about diversity is that it tends to perpetuate itself. Having people who belong to minority groups on staff signals that the workplace is inclusive, which encourages people of color and those from other minority groups to apply, and once minority writers and editors sign on, they instantly expand the network of personal and professional contacts to draw on the next time a position opens up. This is especially true when a publication hires a person of color in its senior editorial ranks, and that's where diversity is worst: Among liberal publications, only The Nation and Mother Jones have racial and ethnic minorities in upper management.

Like poverty, diversity is not a problem that will just address itself, and a broad commitment is not enough. It takes effort and planning, which is why universities—the leading institutions on the diversity front—invest so heavily in recruitment. But first you need to name and quantify the problem. Next time someone asks, I'm hoping my colleagues at other publications will at least know how many people of color they've got on staff. 

The original version of this article misstated the percentage of Mother Jones's staff comprising members of ethnic minority groups. The correct percentage is 12.5, not 10. In addition, contrary to a statement in the original version, Vox Media pays its interns.


" A newsroom filled with white guys simply lacks the same imagination as one with people from an array of backgrounds."

This, of course, is a racist statement. Rather than glide over it, perhaps the answer you seak is at the heart of this statement.

First of all, the human imagination is protean.The huge body of world literature is proof that you don't have to be a man to write a man's character, or a women to write a woman's, etc. Our imagination is boundless, if you have the talent. Authors of every gender, every race, and every sexual orientation, have written convincing characters embracing all of humanity.

Now that we got that out of the way, let's think about the preponderance of white guys at all levels of influence. Why is that? Of course, there are racial and genetic theories rejected by most out of pure politeness. But perhaps there is another explanation. White guys don't get any slack, they don't get any excuses, and they are not encouraged to blame their failures on anybody but themselves. And even among white guys, their success likewise tracks the amount of slack they were raised with, thanks to their parents and their subculture.

If you want to diversify success, remove the safety nets of preferential treatment and sanctioned whining from all people.

Mr Bill, like so many Americans, you don't seem to understand how racism actually works and you've deliberately twisted the piece that you quoted.

The article does not claim that non-white people, as individuals, have more imagination. It says that *newsroom* - a collection of people - collectively have less imagination if everyone is from a similar background. If you've ever actually worked in a newsroom, you'd know that this is in fact completely true. If a magazine wants to cover, for example, problems that afflict the latino community, it's going to help a lot if it has some writers who know those problems from the inside. Same for any minority group.

Genetic theories rejected out of pure politeness?
Bullshit. The idiocy of Charles Murray, Adolf Hitler, etc are rejected because they're scientifically invalid and easy to disprove. You should educate yourself on that. You honestly think that white people dominate our society's power positions because they work harder? Do you have any idea how fucking stupid and easily falsifiable that is? Are you 12 years old?

"White guys don't get any slack..and are not encouraged to blame their failures on anybody but themselves."
Speaking as a white guy, I can assure you that this is not true. Indeed, this the most ridiculous lie I've read in some time and I read a lot. It is so far from the truth that it makes me think you don't know any white guys, and yet, the absurd cluelessness of your Ann Coulter-esque talking points suggests you are a white guy who is, ironically, blaming their own failures on "political correctness" and affirmative action.

We've been getting all of the breaks since before this country was founded and those advantages are passed on through family connections, education, inher--- look, there's no point in trying to educate a bigot. Look it up. It's called history.

To the privileged, justice feels like discrimination.

Go away troll, you are surplus to requirements.

Oh yes, of course. Stifle all dissent. So tell me, how far should racial quotas go? Who's a "minority?" Is one half Mexican a minority? One quarter? How about one third Chinese? Is a Russian resident of Compton a minority? Is a Korean resident of Redwood City? Why not? Does a Spanish doctor's kids get racial preference in school admissions? How about a Bulgarian engineer? And who decides racial bona fides? The federal government? You? Based on what? DNA? Name? Skin complexion? Their neighborhood?


I discovered my Jewish ancestry a couple of years ago while visiting Madrid Spain. I was brought up as a Roman Catholic.My ancestors were forced to convert from Judaism to Catholicism during the Spanish Inquisition that was established in 1478 by the Catholic Monarch. I have European blood due to my Ancestors who came from Sevilla Spain. A majority of Americas are clueless regarding the History of Hispanics, and they assume all Hispanics are Mexicans. We have Black Hispanics who were taking to Latin American as slaves, and Asia Hispanics who migrated to Peru, Brasil and Colombia and there is also a large number of Arabs in Colombia.

The "whites" that live in Latin America look different than your average German/British white American. They have an olive skin color due to the Moorish influence in their country (Spain, Italy, Portugal). The Moors are a "Caucasian" race of people themselves; although they themselves don't look white (they're middle eastern/North African). So that's why a ton of Hispanic's are white.
In 1492 the Catholic Kings Ferdinand and Isabela, expelled the Jews from what is now modern day Spain. Those who stayed were forced to convert to Catholicism. Some 200,000 (MY ANCESTORS were part of this group) chose to leave (for Colombia, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Venezuela). More than five centuries later, very few have come back.

reedjohnmiller, using your logic, newsrooms in Brazil would be so much better than newsrooms in Japan or South Korea or Finland since they have more diversity. In reality, the latter mentioned three racially homogeneous countries are far more successful in every way, including media success.

"You honestly think that white people dominate our society's power positions because they work harder?"

No, it must be because they are more racist and hateful right? How on earth is your disgusting theory any less racist than someone who acknowledges the racial disparities in intelligence that have been tested and proven time and time again for the past 100+ years? Furthermore, a successful person may not necessarily work harder, but they generally are smarter. No one is claiming that a person with low intelligence working a low wage job isn't working hard - but the fact remains, they are not that intelligent. Japanese, Chinese, Germans, Danes, Ashkenazi Jews, Brahmin Indians, and on and on, have been tested over and over to have higher intelligence. That is why they always have - and always will - be more successful than Mexicans, sub-Saharan Africans, etc. And don't worry for a second - this WILL be proven at the DNA level within five years.

Torres Name Meaning
Galician, Catalan, Spanish, Portuguese, and Jewish (Sephardic): habitational name from any of the numerous places named Torres, all named with the plural of torre ‘tower’ (see Torre).Italian: habitational name from Torres in Belluno or Porto Torres in Sassari. In southern Italy the surname is sometimes a borrowing from Spanish (see 1).Dutch: from a short form of Victoris, from the Latin personal name Victorius.
My ancestors were Sephardic Jews(Spanish Jews) who migrated to Colombia.

reedjohnmiller - Thank you! Perfect! ((((Applause!)))

"You should educate yourself on that. You honestly think that white people dominate our society's power positions because they work harder? Do you have any idea how fucking stupid and easily falsifiable that is? Are you 12 years old?"

Please falsify it. Show your work.

BTW, if there are no differences between races, why are Jews more likely to get Tay Sachs, only blacks susceptible to Sickle Cell Anemia, and Europeans more prone to certain mental illnesses?

This is not a statement that people are not equal. Merely that it's complete horseshit to claim there are no genetic differences. Ask any geneticist and...

look, there's no point in trying to educate a racist retard.

Go back to The Nation, where you can feel smug and superior in your racism, apologizing for the success of others (since you clearly have none) while doing nothing substantive about inequality.

Well stated mrbill. Now of course, you will be mercilessly slammed by the racist lefties who are unable to process rational thoughts that don't make them feel good.

Diversity is code word for people who look different, but all think the same.

Denial stings for posters like mr.bill unable to handle inclusion or competition they spit out the same tired excuses which has the progress and evolution of White America stuck and stagnant .

Oh, wait, that's what the article was about--racism among leftists, pretending to give a shit about minorities.

Hypocritical much?

The pie charts do not fully illustrate just how caucamonolithic progressive diversity enforcers really are.

Staff photos rather than pie charts would make plain the hypocrisy of progressive media thought leaders. The easiest example to use is right here on this page. Have a look at the author, who laughably claims to be non-white.

Ha Ha Ha!

Mr. (Mr!) Arana does not stand out visibly in any way from his pale fellow prog tribesmen.

The only diversity that matters in the culture should be diversity of thought. And That is verboten.

Rather than focus on skin color, in this case shades of pale, focus on diversity of opinion aka- dissent. When dissent is allowed by the progressive tribe pallor-logging wont matter.

From a Tea-Billy reader,
Vim Toot!

It sort of reminds me Lizzy "sitting squaw" Warren. The white upper middle class left is infatuated with being an "other". It one of the reason why Warren tried to use it, not necessarily to her advantage, but really wanting to be something other than Scot-Irish, German or English (what ever she really is).

Adding another writer who has a skin tone slightly darker than the writers you already have, but who thinks exactly the same as your current writers, won't make much difference in your publications.

But addressing the real diversity issue would make a large difference. That is the fact that only 20% (or less) of America calls itself liberal. While 50% of the country labels themselves conservatives. Why don't you worry about intellectual diversity and hire some conservative writers. That might even help your publication's bottom line if it attracts some of the 80% of the country who disagree with your leftist positions.

Just for the record---you might need to check that bogus 50% conservative number. Maybe you are using the same polling that told you Romney would win. These are the latest numbers and I expect the nuttier you guys get the worse it will be.

Friday indicated that Americans are more likely to identify as conservatives (38%) than as liberals (23%). But the conservative advantage is down to 15 percentage points as liberal identification reached its highest level since 1992.

Also, surveys that ask people about their views on the issues, as opposed to labeling themselves, reveal that people are much more liberal on the issues, even while calling themselves conservative.
Forty-two percent of Americans, on average, identified as political independents in 2013, the highest Gallup has measured since it began conducting interviews by telephone 25 years ago. Meanwhile, Republican identification fell to 25%, the lowest over that time span. At 31%, Democratic identification is unchanged from the last four years but down from 36% in 2008.

The numbers differ based on the source of the polling, but the meaning is the same. Hiring people of different skin color but with the same political perspective is not true diversity;

That may be, but the fact remains that while conservatives are a greater part of the population, the journalist and editorial population of all of those magazine is close to 100% liberal. Zero diversity in the one realm that it makes a difference. In the realm of thoughts and perceptions.

Democrats all most all self identify as liberals, but with independents that same poll found:

"The main change in independents' views is that they increasingly call themselves conservative."

The drop in the Republican numbers can be credited to the increase in Independent numbers. Many Republican conservatives are fed up with the Republican establishment.

Please don't help them survive. We don't need more leftist lies. It's not like they have a minority position in the LSM you know.

Study after study shows that "having an ethnic name" diminishes chances of finding a mentor, being accepted to school programs, getting feedback from professors, securing an internship, getting an interview for a job, and finally being hired. The definition of an "ethnic" name in these studies included common names used in African American communities, as well as names from other nationalities, and Native American names. The only names that weren't "ethnic" were very stereotypical "white bread" names (though I recognize anyone can have any name). Also employers were less likely to want to interview applicants who gave a physical address in a "less desirable" area, which often means minority-majority areas. So, if you are an African American college student hoping for a career in journalism, but named for your great grandfather and still living with your parents in an African American neighborhood, professors are less likely to advise you on reaching your goals, magazines and newspapers are less likely to offer you an internship, and upon graduation you're less likely to even get a foot in the door for an interview. If liberal media outlets are truly committed to diversity, they need to start nurturing a diverse group of aspiring journalists, educate their staff on unconscious bias, and maybe even review resumes/cvs with all identifying information removed. So often I find liberal journals and newspapers taking a very condescending tone in discussing issues of race, class, ethnicity, etc. The remedy to that is getting more people to the table when deciding content.

"finding a mentor, being accepted to school programs, getting feedback from professors, securing an internship, getting an interview for a job, and finally being hired."

It is sort of funny that the first half of your list are usually found in very liberal, progressive institutions and individuals! The secound half could very well be to if these left wing magazines are representative of the Left in the real world.

Yes, news flash, liberals can be racist too, often in subtle ways. Their belief that they are *incapable* of being racist makes the problem worse, as they will not examine or try to correct their own prejudices and misconceptions.

Maybe people should wise up and stop giving their kids wacky names.

I'm named for my grandmother, who was named for hers. I'm proud of my heritage. That said, I get a lot of "what's your ethnicity?" and "what were your parents thinking?" I even get suggestions to legally change my name to make myself more employable. The studies suggested that many of the names rejected outright were not "wacky" so much as simply associated with people of color. Willie/Willy got rejected, Lamar got rejected and so on. Considering our current president, a highly intelligent and educated man, has a name associated with his father's culture and family, maybe it's time we started judging people by their accomplishments, not their names.

So it's a problem to you that White people are more likely to help other White people? I have news for you - we don't owe you a DAMN THING. I don't see people of other races helping Whites in areas where they run things, so why should we? We just get slammed for it anyway.

Nobody owes me anything (well maybe some do, but that debt isn't ever going to be paid). That said, if we are kind, caring people, and we want to nurture the next generation toward success in our country, then we should be willing to help and engage with all young people who take the initiative to improve their minds and skills, not just those who share a handful of physical characteristics with us. If you are a "white" person in the US, then likely you have far more in common, culturally and in terms of values with your African American neighbors than you do with a Caucasian person living in a former Soviet block nation. That's not to say that I wouldn't help an immigrant, or individuals of any race, religion, or creed. But I'm saying an US vs Them division in the US is sort of silly. We all have a stock in helping the next generation succeed, and they are all Americans.

Normally I don't bother much with trying to educate preppies; there is damn little profit in it.
But, you ought to try everything once, so, here goes;
I'm a 64 yr old, highschool dropout, forty yr. veteran of the construction business(also of RVN, but that's for another day)
Most of that forty yrs consisted of being a pack mule; sheetrock, plywood, timbers, sac-krete in and out of trucks, up and down stairs, that sort of thing.
My "White Priveledge" has netted me a bad back, shot knees and shoulders that require a fifteen minute warm up to throw a baseball across the yard.
If you spend much time at construction sites you see the inside of a lot of Port-a-cans.
The usual tripe cover the walls of most of them.
One little ditty often seen is this;
"Black is beautiful,
Tan is grand
But white is the color of the big boss man."
Is that rascist?
Probably is.
Is it hateful?
Probably not.
Most guys on site haven't the energy to hate; the work is dangerous enough without looking for more trouble.
It more in the line of;
"The mountain is green on the bottom and white on top.:
Just an observation of the real world around you.
Over the years, that reality has changed considerasble. When I started the only blacks on a job were laborers.
Now you see craftsmen, inspecters, contracters, designers, architects, salesmen of just about all colors.
Has that changed the business?
Not that I can tell.
Construction imposses it's own dynamic which governs all relationships on the job.
Mostly its a matter of competance; Is he or isn't capable of doing the job and getting along with all the others there trying to do the same?
You want more "People of color" on your job?
Give it twenty or forty years.
A 6 yr. old farm boy can tell you if you plant corn today, you aren't eating cornbread tomorrow.
It takes time.

Construction trades aren't really representative of the whole economy. It's a lot easier for minorities to get in on the bottom rung in that business than it is in journalism. As you say, everyone starts as a laborer. There's not really an equivalent of "laborer" any more in journalism. The closest thing is an intern and, as the article explains, the route to that job is not equal opportunity right now.

Also, the point this article is trying to make is that a newsroom with diverse backgrounds will have diverse "voices" and perspectives. That's valuable for the kind of work a magazine like the American Prospect is trying to do. Even a second-rate writer who understands a minority community from the inside can probably do a better job covering those issues than a better writer coming to it from the outside. I didn't believe that until I saw it first hand. There's not really an equivalent dynamic in the construction trades. Having a "unique perspective" or insights into problems facing certain subgroups of our society doesn't help plumbers, electricians, etc, get the job done on time and on budget.

The fallacy of the value in "diversity, minority, racial" opinion or experience, is that it is a false narrative.
People are people, the divisions based on race or culture are artificial. They are taken on or imposed on people and can just as readily be lost or thrown off.
I am a human being, and can understand, well or poorly, any other human beings afflictions, grievances, pain, joy or sorrow.
If that is not so, then the Klan is right;
"There is such a gulf between races, it can never be bridged."

I can tell you with virtually 100% certainty that none of the sites mentioned in this article will ever hire an ethnic minority who is not a progressive.

The Unbearable Blackness of the NBA
If the NBA players value diversity, why don't they have any on their NBA teams?
Does there need to be a quota system so all ethnicities are represented?

Please spare us with that inane comparison. Are NBA ballers shaping public opinion or policy in any major ways, or are they primarily providing entertainment through sports? There is a reason no one is decrying the unbearable Whiteness of hockey and other sports predominantly white. Apples and oranges....

Human lives are impacted much more by media and government, and the lack of diversity within these ranks.

You need to go deeper if you have the capacity to reflect on implications of the overwhelming whiteness (and white male thought/influence) found within most institutions.

How far should racial quotas go? Who's a "minority?" Is one half Mexican a minority? One quarter? How about one third Chinese? Is a Russian resident of Compton a minority? Is a Korean resident of Redwood City? Why not? Does a Spanish doctor's kids get racial preference in school admissions? And who decides racial bona fides? The federal government? You? Based on what? DNA? Name? Skin complexion? Their neighborhood?

Just follow that logic for a while. Utopian systems of socially engineering any kind of racial/gender/religious "fairness" always, always end up as Orwellian nightmares. Racial quotas, for anything, are a not very funny joke.

well, gabby, even if they are MOSTLY white, you can take heart that they ALL think alike!! no need for diversity of thought -- especially at a progressive publication, especially when a big part of your business is organizing boycotts of people who hold opposing views.

I am struck by your definition of journalism as 'story telling'. But set that aside and consider my question. What other word, besides WHITE could you insert in this sentence without inspiring rage?

A newsroom filled with white guys simply lacks the same imagination as one with people from an array of backgrounds.


GABRIEL ARANA's favorite song The Rolling Stones - Paint It Black

"When you're in the business of telling stories..."

When a line of argument can be summed up in a sentence fragment, there is no need to go any further.

I find it interesting how the 'diversity' of thought doesn't extend across the liberal/progressive/conservative lines.

Hypocrisy in its purest form.

You should fix your edit for typos. "of ehtnic minority"

Liberal publications lack diversity because nearly all the writers and editors are very poorly paid, usually about $10 an hour or less. Young writers primary source of income is using the wealth gifted to them or inherited from their parents and grandparents, not their paychecks.. Most minorities in the USA and certainly all of the Poor are living paycheck to paycheck. The take home pay for young people starting out at most liberal publications is not enough to pay the rent and to pay off student loans.

Those living "paycheck to paycheck" are actually the better off, the near-poor. The US has a poverty crisis.

It seems unclear whether the writer is staying consistent on the definition of "diversity". The article starts off to define the kinds of "groups" people who work at liberal publications support and consider as falling under "diverse" populations. Then the article talks about numbers these publications can claim. Are those numbers including sexual orientation for example? It consistently talks about white males. Are some of them gay? The article mentions the focus on the "poor" at The Prospect. Are any of the white males from "poor" backgrounds? Do they then not count as minorities if poor is included as a definition of a special focus and catagory? If so, why mention that "group" (white males) as a blanket definition of a group that is not a minority. It would seem there are white male people of different sexual orientation in society. This kind of cherry picking of results and definitions is what breeds arguments for the conservative wing of society.
And then there is mention of the male Jewish writers. Is that "group" not considered a minority? Or is a minority then what group is NOT prevalent in a particular sector regardless of whether they are a minority in society (argument being "well there are lots of male Jews who are writers so that does not count"...weak and again not consistent). So if there are enough minorities then they lose minority status even if they are actually still a minority in society? Are we talking about representation of society? If there is suddenly a majority of Ivy league educated wealthy Asian Americans working at publication X is that now a staff with a high minority rating?
It reads as though the definition shifts to basically ethnic and racial minority as long as there are not too many of them in the publication sector. When that happens then that group no longer qualifies as a "minority". Really?
Writing about this issue of a lack of diversity (and it is a real one) is commendable and it is doing a valuable service to point this out but let's stay consistent. And this larger issue of defining minority status is one the progressive world has not really adequately addressed. When it does it is usually molded to fit a convenient argument. And regrettably that leaves it open to criticism and dismissal from right wing members of the SCOTUS and others.

This article is specifically about ethinic/racial diversity, not sexual orientation or gender.

I work and live in DC burb and Houston burb.....50/50 during the year. I have a condo in one and a house in the other. One votes like 65% D, the other 65% R each and every electoral cycle. Each is wealthy (upper middle class-ish) and very white. The one thing as a man of color I see is that these white people make sure their kids get each and every advantage possible even if the kid does not deserve it or earn it (although most of their kids do). They produce highly educated and productive kids. My point is that they all may spout about diversity and putting those poor black and brown kids in downtown DC or Houston but in reality they all make sure it their kid or kids from their type of neighborhood that get that "help", be it an internship, networking or a slot at that daycare or college. Why? because it is their kids.....I bet all these interns at these Left wing rags are the kids of other white "progressives"

"But cultivating diversity also means thinking differently about a candidate's qualifications."
I hope that one of the qualifications that remains for hiring journalists is good writing ability.

I don't know how many of the writers are "people of color," as opposed to how many have sought writing positions in lib media. I don't know how many people of color seek to be part of liberal media/discussion. I don't know that the issue is particularly relevant. The voices of the poor (the majority of whom are white) are also shut out, ensuring that there is little discussion about our poverty crisis. A great deal is written about people of color in lib media, but very little about... America's invisible? The jobless poor, in an era after the US shipped out a huge portion of our working class jobs, and then wiped out welfare for the truly poor, have no media presence, no voice, no representation, regardless of color.

Should media focus on views and ideas or colors? Should lib media replace any liberal discussion with conservative people of color? Should there be quotas?

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