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Earlier today, I wrote this memo to our team. I hope publishing it will hold us publicly accountable and show that immediate change is possible.
Many of you will have seen the open letter on sexism and sexual harassment in the news industry, published simultaneously at The Quint, European Journalism Observatory, ICFJ, Chicas Poderosas, WikiTribune, and NewsMavens.
The European Journalism Centre supports this initiative. I’ve signed the petition and we’ll be publishing our support across our various social channels.
But it’s not enough. We need to be proactive.
The letter states “Our industry has a responsibility to lead on gender equality in, and through, the media — broader social change depends upon it.” I couldn’t agree with this more.
Journalists can only hold others to account on equality if they themselves — and their representative bodies — are doing their part. Not only should journalists be advocates for equality, but we should be practising it in our own institutions.
The letter calls for “REAL action.” So here’s what we’re going to do in the very short term.
We have a team of 32 staff with fifteen nationalities. We hired a People Officer who has improving diversity as a key strategic goal. We’ve hired 10 people recently: around 50% of the hiring pool were women and we were deliberately inclusive in the way we approached job posts and interviews. We built a transparent salary system to help prevent pay discrimination. Our fledgling performance review process is already starting to have an effect. Many of you dedicate time, and indeed entire projects, to building inclusivity into our programming.
I therefore believe all of us are committed to equality and inclusion. But I also believe you all know that we, and the industry, have a long way to go.
I’ll be publishing this post on our blog. I’m always wary of virtue signalling, but I think it’s important to show other organisations that small steps towards institutional change are better than no steps, and that it is possible to start immediately.
If you have any questions or ideas, Gisel and I are happy to hear them.
You can sign the #timesupnews petition here, and read the open letter here.