If you haven’t read “The Unbearable Whiteness of Liberal Media” by Gabriel Arana yet, you need to. Like right now. Arana’s piece is perhaps one of the most honestly tragic commentaries about why media still suffers from a major diversity issue. It is a topic our own founder continues to write about, and to be honest with you, none of us here are surprised by how elitist many of these online publications are.
Arana’s report is pure truth. Sadly, the piece hits hard because Arana quotes editors from several of these publications. Their words alone speak for themselves.
First up, Slate’s David Plotz. (Yes, the very same magazine already known for its lack of diversity.)
Up until 2008, newsrooms—especially large ones—were really really conscious about diversity. 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.’
Well, at least Plotz is being truthful.
How about Richard Kim, executive editor at The Nation. Arana mentions in his piece that Kim “is Asian American and gay.” Here is what Kim said:
The staff here is unionized, which means there is little job turnover. We only get to make a hire every four or five years.
A progressive publication blaming unions. Interesting.
Here is what Franklin Foer, editor of The New Republic, said:
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.
Then this is this one from Plotz:
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. That perpetuates itself—it’s hard to look for and find people who are not like you.”
Yeah, we got problems.
However, not everything in Arana’s piece is so dismal. Read the whole piece and let us know what you think.