Philadelphia deserves better.
On June 3, 2020, the day after The Philadelphia Inquirer’s disastrous “Buildings Matter, Too” headline, 44 journalists of color called out sick and tired of the paper’s enduring failure to accurately report about nonwhite communities.
“We demand action. We demand a plan, with deadlines. We demand full, transparent commitment to changing how we do business.”June 3 Open letter from journalists of color at The Philadelphia Inquirer
The Inquirer is now part of a national reckoning on how newsrooms treat their employees of color and how they cover communities of color. Our industry has routinely and systematically lessened the experiences and perspectives of people of color, undervalued the work of women, and used bureaucracy as a crutch to avoid changes of substance.
As a public benefit corporation, the Inquirer is accountable not only to its employees, but to everyone in the Philadelphia region.
We already know what changes are necessary. On June 8, we sent Inquirer leadership a list of actions they can immediately take to reduce racial inequity. The newspaper has taken steps toward implementing some of these solutions but has dismissed others.
To that end, we have created this site to document what the company is and is not doing to address the concerns raised by its journalists of color. We will update this site if and when The Inquirer makes progress.
Five actions: status & progress
1. We must have a seat at the table if someone will replace [former Executive Editor] Stan [Wischnowski].
2. We must conduct a pay equity study to identify disparities by race and gender and fix them.
PAY STUDY IN PROGRESS; NO COMMITMENT TO PAY EQUALITY
3. We must undertake a comprehensive review of our coverage, past and present, and commit to more equitable treatment.
COVERAGE AUDIT IN PROGRESS
4. We must undergo substantive training for everyone in the newsroom.
SOME TRAINING IN PROGRESS
5. We must commit to adding an editor of color to every desk in the newsroom.
Diversity at The Inquirer
Many other news organizations, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and all Gannett-owned papers, voluntarily publish staff demographic information as part of public diversity reports. The Inquirer has so far not done so.
We have compiled available newsroom diversity data, and we continue to call on The Inquirer to independently publish these numbers, along with audience and subscriber demographics.
These numbers only tell part of the story. For instance:
- The Inquirer has no Black and/or Latinx journalists covering health, science, and local or state politics full-time.
- The Inquirer does not have a single full-time opinion editor or writer who is a man of color.
- The Inquirer has zero investigative reporters and editors of color.
This is how we know who makes The Inquirer and whom The Inquirer is made for. As a news organization committed to the public interest, we must be accountable to the public, and that means being transparent about whom we serve.
- Launching “Transform The Inquirer”
- A Call For Transparency
- A Thank You To Our Colleagues
- Five Actions The Inquirer Should Take Next
- Open Letter From Journalists of Color at the Philadelphia Inquirer