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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Diversifying the newsroom

In my decades in newspapers, management preached diversity of race and sex. They succeeded in the latter, but failed in the former.

What the press really needs is diversity in ideology.

I am not saying hire more conservatives. Every newspaper now has one of those writing on the editorial page. That's not where the problem is; the newsroom is.

If newspapers wish to be relevant in the 21st century -- and that may not be their goal -- they need to reflect better the readers they serve.

That means hiring people who reflect those readers.

Publishers should ask themselves:
  1. Do I have any military veterans on staff?
  2. Do I have any gun owners on staff?
  3. Do I have any hunters on staff?
  4. Do I have any church goers on staff?
  5. Do I have any temple goers on staff?
  6. Do I have any pro-life people on staff?
  7. Do I have any immigrants on staff?
  8. Do I have anyone who can drive standard on staff?
  9. Do I have anyone with a B.S. on staff?
  10. Do I have anyone on staff who was home-schooled or home-schools their children?
Just as a newspaper should have people of different races and sexes, they should have people of other backgrounds.

By the way, one of my colleagues at the Daily Mail was qualified for underground mining. I had been a factory worker. Newspapers need to chill on hiring journalism and communication majors straight out of college. They need to get a few more people who are not like the others, but are more like their readers.

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  1. That would require thinking, and that is not their strong suit.

  2. The newspaper industry is like the Ottoman Empire was in 1910 - one good shove and it will fall to pieces.

  3. the smart people understand diversity has to produce results, nota race and sex ratio. For generations if one went to Columbia university in Manhattan, immediate entrance to to the Business school for a degree that virtually guaranteed a job in a major bank with financial security for life, was largely automatic. Now after years of producing poorly qualified failures in business and a ruined brand, one must graduate and then get a real job in the industry, work for two or three years, and then apply with a sterling record of actual real world achievement. Grades and undergrad professorial recommendations hardly count.
    Achievement in Journalism though doesn't seem to require the kind of experience Don suggests. Just to be willing to tow the line as a dutiful poorly paid servant, or, more importantly in the visual media to speak with a resonant voice and look good, is more important. In short, As a great man said, to have the spectacular qualities that do duty for virtue, in our age.

  4. One other - someone who grew up on a farm.

    As to #9 - they have plenty that BS, but none with a B.S.

  5. "they need to reflect better the readers they serve."

    They need to hire people who have life experience in the real world, not just seat time while passively listening to academic lectures and taking multiple choice exams in college classrooms. If they haven't done "IT," then they won't know how to report on "IT" to their readership. Old adage, still (mostly) true: Experience is the best teacher.

    1. In unarmed combat, it was always "bruises teach best".

      Metaphorically, you could probably apply that to both politics and journalism.

  6. Publishers should check on their editors' backgrounds, too.

  7. Watch your back Don. You can't trust those "journalists." But then again, for all their printed lies are worth, they may stuff your car with newsprint. I helped do that to a friends Spitfire many moons ago and it was fun. Packing peanuts hadn't been invented.

  8. They're no longer journalists, they're stenographers (for Dimocrats) and propagandists.

  9. IMHO the press should forget all about fricking diversity and just start reporting real news honestly.