The National Association of Black Journalists sent out a fiery press release, blasting the newspaper industry for “treat[ing] diversity like a passing fad” and a “disposable commodity.” The July 3 release comes on the heels of mass
The NABJ claims that African American journalists are the first to go when newspapers downsize and accused the newspaper industry of dropping diversity as a priority as it seeks to redefine itself. Within the past month, some of the country’s leading newspapers have announced staff cuts. They include the “Baltimore Sun,” which will eliminate 100 positions, the “Boston Herald,” which will layoff 160 people, the “Chicago Tribune,” which plans to lay off 120 people, and the “Los Angeles Times,” where 150 editorial positions will be cut. “In the past when a company announced layoffs, NABJ would send a letter reminding them that diversity is important%uFFFDthat our members are often the last hired and most likely to be near the bottom of the seniority list. No one ever responded to those letters. We are not sending any more of those. Instead, let this serve as an open letter to the entire industry: NABJ will hold you accountable if you do not consider diversity in your hiring and, particularly, firing practices,” stated the 1,500-word release. Founded in 1975, the NABJ is an organization of 3,300 journalists, students and media-related professionals. According to the organization’s Web site, it is the largest organization of minority journalists in the country. Leila Noelliste can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com. ______ Copyright 2008 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.