NABJ Advocacy: Addressing Diversity and Sensitivity Issues in the Media
Dear NABJ Members,
We are disappointed and disturbed about the recent and frequent inappropriate actions and growing use of photos, artwork, language and videos that are culturally offensive and insensitive in today’s media landscape.Many believe the current racial climate may be one driver of what appears to be a surge in such activities.Other times, it is simply ignorance of cultural sensitivities, blatant disregard or a lack of training.
Unfortunately, we could find ourselves fighting diversity and inclusion-related fires 24/7 because of the ongoing controversy over the insensitive – and often unacceptable – use of images and words.We could do just that as an organization, but we believe a strategic and holistic approach may be a more effective method.
NABJ addresses these issues and activities in multiple strategic ways. Sometimes a public admonishment, like the CNN diversity issues, is the best move. Other times, we quietly deal with issues behind the scenes as some companies we engage are truly regretful about mistakes and inexcusable lapses in judgment by an employee.
You may not hear specifics about many of our advocacy efforts behind the scenes because of timing and sensitivities.However, you can rest assured that we are on top of it.
One key initiative that we are launching under our new administration is forming an NABJ-created diversity training partnership with media companies to help educate management and employees on an array of diversity and inclusion issues. We are excited about this opportunity because it has the potential to have a significant impact on current and future media companies, their employees and the content they create. We will reveal more about this exciting venture very soon. As a part of our strategy, we are also working to revamp and expand our media monitoring committee, which will report on these issues.
Keep in mind that while permanent eradication of offensive and insensitive actions in the media industry may be difficult to achieve, dramatically reducing such incidents is very achievable when we work together.
Members and supporters, we need your help! Voice your opinions and address your concerns with your companies. We realize that some people may be uncomfortable with doing that, so part of our diversity and advocacy training – which we will offer to members through webinars, regional events and media institutes – will address how to approach management and colleagues about diversity and inclusion issues in your workplace and beyond.
We are hopeful that our strategic, multi-pronged approach will yield benefits and changes for our members and our community.
Stay tuned and know that we are constantly working behind the scenes on the same issues that concern you on a daily basis. I am excited to work with our Board, Founders, past leaders, members, partners and external groups to accomplish our goals. Together, we will fulfill NABJ’s great and important mission!
Yours in Service,
National Association of Black Journalists