By Lottie Joiner, Washington, D.C., co-regional captain
In June, JAWS attended the third annual UNITY Diversity Caucus. UNITY Journalists for Diversity advocates fair and accurate coverage of diverse communities including race, nationality, ethnicity, gender identity and sexual orientation. The organization also encourages media outlets to hire staff who reflect the country’s diversity.
Representatives from more than a dozen media outlets and organizations including NPR, the Online News Association, McClatchy, Nieman Journalism Lab, USA Today Network, Fund for Investigative Journalism, The Washington Post, Maynard Institute and CNN attended the Caucus session, held June 17 at American University in Washington, D.C.
Kevin Merida, senior vice president and editor-in-chief of ESPN’s The Undefeated, spoke on creating a diverse newsroom. Sonya Ross, Associated Press Race, Ethnicity and Demographics editor and Amanda Barrett of the AP’s Nerve Desk presented a session on developing a race and ethnicity beat to cover America.
The takeaways from the day’s discussions reminded participants that talent can be found in unconventional areas and that outlets should look to diversity organizations for candidates. It was emphasized that diverse newsrooms are needed now more than ever as they report on the nation’s changing demographics. Caucus participants shared best practices at their workplace and walked away with a list of diversity guides and events calendar.