- The Washington Post will create new positions focused on diversity and inclusion and release a diversity report, among other efforts to improve diversity within its ranks and in its coverage, it confirmed to HR Dive June 22.
- In a memo first obtained by Washingtonian Magazine, Publisher Fred Ryan shared with workers plans for establishing new roles in the newsroom as well as an array of company initiatives aimed at hiring and retaining diverse talent and improving inclusion. As part of these measures, the Post will release its first public diversity report in July. The initiatives include an expansion of the HR department, including a director of diversity and inclusion. It will also undertake unconscious bias training and update leadership competencies to include building a diverse team. The Post has also committed to make advancements in pay equity and expand paid leave. The Post Guild, the company’s employee union, said it shared a set of recommendations last week, many of which were part of this announcement.
- Within the newsroom, the Post is adding more than a dozen new positions, including a managing editor of diversity and inclusion, a photojournalist "with experience in coverage of race and identity," and writers in national security, style, criminal justice, climate and environment, and health and science, aimed at covering the racial and identity-based aspects of these topics. The Post is also launching a program called "Opportunity Year" which will allow three staff members to spend a year working in another department to develop cross-functional skills.
The Washington Post’s announcement reflects an internal and product-level emphasis on diversity and inclusion. Examples from other companies of product-level diversity initiatives include food brands such as Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben’s and Mrs. Buttersworth, which will be reviewed and updated after years of their parent companies defending them.
While companies released statements and made donations over the past few weeks in response to nationwide protests, many wondered if and how they would take action in the interest of racial equality. Reddit co-founder Alex Ohanian was one of the first to answer this question, resigning from his board seat with the company and urging them to replace him with a Black board member.
More recently, Nike, Twitter and The New York Times, among others, gave employees paid leave for Juneteenth, the holiday which celebrates the emancipation of many from slavery in the United States. In another instance of paid leave for social justice, Blue Apron and a host of others made Election Day a holiday. Some major employers launched a similar set of initiatives back in February.
Other corporate responses have included donations, commitments to diversity hiring, as well as promises to form internal advisory councils and policies. NASCAR, for example, banned the Confederate flag from its events, while tech giants Amazon, Microsoft and IBM have committed to stop offering or investing in facial recognition software used by police forces, a practice found to be disproportionately harmful to Black individuals.