Gannett Releases Diversity Statistics, Vows to Add 60 Race and Justice Editorial Roles

USA Today, owned by Gannett, published a deep look into the newspaper company’s diversity statistics Thursday

Gannett released internal diversity statistics Thursday and vowed to increase roles for reporting on race and justice, among other steps toward inclusivity-boosting.

Maribel Perez Wadsworth, president of news at Gannett Media, wrote, “By the end of the year, we will have created 20 national and 40 local jobs focused on social justice, disparities and inclusion to augment our coverage of race at the intersection of every critical institution, including education, health care, criminal justice and the environment.”

“Educating, informing and empowering our local communities is at the core of what our newsrooms do every day. To do this, we must better reflect who we serve,” Gannett CEO Mike Reed said in his own statement. “I’m committed to providing our journalists with the company support and financial investment necessary to improve the diversity of our news organizations to mirror our communities.”

Wadsworth included the individual statistics for various newsrooms under the Gannett umbrella, including USA Today, the Indianapolis Star and the Des Moines Register.

Within the company overall, 46% of employees are women and 22% are BIPOC. At USA Today, the numbers are higher: 48% of employees are women while 30% are BIPOC.

Individual editors contributed to the discussion in columns and tweets.

The Arizona Republic’s editor, Greg Burton, wrote in a series of tweets, “In America’s newsrooms, African American, Latino, Native American and Asian journalists are underrepresented in the ranks of reporters, photographers, producers and editors; in sports, news and opinion; along the coasts and on the prairie. We take surveys, every year, but still don’t fully capture the contributions of our LGBTQ colleagues. Too little has changed. In 1978, Oakland Tribune owner Nancy Hicks Maynard urged American newsrooms to match America by 2020.”

“We failed,” he added.

“We are committing to achieving gender, racial and ethnic parity by 2025 and will report our progress annually,” wrote Perez Wadsworth. “As a whole, our news organization has much work to do to achieve this goal, but there are clear signs of progress among many of our newsrooms.”

She noted that the El Paso Times’ newsroom is 58% BIPOC and more than half of the newsroom as well as its entire leadership time is Latino. Further, she said, of 11 promotions in 2020 into top editor jobs through the company, eight were BIPOC and seven were women.