Advice: What to do when your ship’s sinking

“Find ways to strengthen your diversity efforts on Information Center Web site.”

— headline in News Watch, Gannett‘s weekly newsletter for thousands of newsroom employees, Sept. 25, 2008.

16 Responses to “Advice: What to do when your ship’s sinking”

  1. mr. whig Says:

    I think the Gannett answer to “What to do when your house is on fire?” is “stop digging.”

  2. Anonymous Says:

    It is a bit disconcerting to detect a theme of resistance to efforts on diversity from this blog’s creator.

    Last week, Jim asked what the makeup was of Gannett’s program for the talented. Seemed an odd thing to ask, but he was informed that yes, indeed, it is a diversity-aimed program for the talented.

    Now he uses a simple reminder about diversity in the newsroom (or Information Centers, if we must call them that), to make a point about priorities.

    Both harmless jibes. But it is off-putting that a gay man would seem the need to find superiority by mocking efforts to make sure newsrooms at Gannett are representative of the communities and nation we cover.

    This is not to say that there cannot be a healthy debate over affirmative action in the newsrooms. But for an openly gay man to take such a seemingly reactionary approach is disappointing to all of us who believe social justice has such a long way still to go.

    I hope I am wrong, but the evidence is disturbing.

  3. Jim Hopkins Says:

    10:40 am: I stand by my post — and my long record as one of Gannett’s advocates for broad news coverage. What specifically have you done in that regard?

  4. Jim Hopkins Says:

    I’ll add this: At a time when too many Gannett papers aren’t covering school board, city council and legislative sessions because of their depleted newsrooms, News Watch should devote much more time to helping papers do their basic First Amendment work.

    What good is mainstreaming — when you don’t have any stories to, well, diversify?

  5. Anonymous Says:

    That may be. But in troubled times, diversity is even more important to protect.

  6. Jim Hopkins Says:

    I assume you mean that a more diverse paper draws more readers? On paper, that sounds logical. But I’ve never seen any independent research showing that Gannett’s diversity efforts that done that.

    You may be interested in my earlier post on the subject, here:

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Yes, it’s very important that the deck chairs are color-coordinated and properly distributed by hue as the ship heads toward the iceberg. Make sure the crew devotes their full attention to this, rather than righting the ship.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    There are many ways to right a ship.

    “Iceberg ahead, all the white people into the lifeboats!” is one way, I suppose.

    Or I could use a Katrina Superdome analogy.

    Either way, there is no reason to attack diversity, which is not only a good thing, but the right thing.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    “”I assume you mean that a more diverse paper draws more readers? On paper, that sounds logical. But I’ve never seen any independent research showing that Gannett’s diversity efforts that done that.””

    That doesn’t matter at all. Diversity is just the right thing to do. If white news for white people sells the most newspapers, is that what the company should do?

  10. Anonymous Says:

    10:40 AM
    A diverse group? Hardly. Where are the representatives of the very large protected worker class—the 40- and- over crowd. Seems a company that prides itself in diversity AND transformation could be a leader in retraining efforts for the chronologically gifted.

  11. Jim Hopkins Says:

    To make clear: I don’t oppose diversity/mainstreaming per se; it’s Gannett’s on-the-cheap execution that I dislike. Some of the examples I see are insulting to the very communities we call diverse. Plus: if Gannett really wants to make more people feel included, it ought to devote more resources to moderating bigoted comments on its sites.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    Spot on, Jim. The roar of laughter you must hear all the way over there is Gannett New Jersey reading the News Watch item.

    Authentic diversity demands much more than a dutiful, contrived quote from the same few token members of racial minorities in otherwise one-source stories. Dedication to diversity never has included sexual orientation, women or any counterculture. Diversity should mean any eclectic view, not just some imagined monoplastic racial minority.

    As long as the editorials, op-eds and serious blogs are written almost exclusivley for like-minded white upper-middle-class men, while women work on features, calendars and the “moms” websites, it’s just 1950 redux.

    It’ll be interesting to see what Hollis Towns makes of Gannett NJ’s diversity status.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Washington Mutual’s last – ever – press release.

  14. Anonymous Says:

    How does Gannett measure diversity success? Where are the specific, measurable goals? Objectives and activities like what’s listed in News Watch are a far cry from anything measurable.

  15. Anonymous Says:

    You mean diversity like the Morristown Record’s OC — 3 white males, no females, no ethnics. yea, that’s Gannett diversity.

  16. Anonymous Says:

    I don’t work at a Gannett paper, but my paper in Jersey also strongly supports diversity. It’s cool with me, but what good is diversity if the company can’t stay afloat?

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