USA Today, as well as Gannett’s 260 local daily and several hundred weekly news organizations, have published a census to make public the number of its journalists who are female, Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC).
The company is “committing to achieving gender, racial and ethnic parity by 2025 and will report our progress annually,” according to a column from Maribel Perez Wadsworth, president of the USA Today Network and publisher of USA Today.
Gannett is committing to “make its workforce as diverse as the country by 2025.”
BIPOC make up 22% of the overall company. A little over 30% of USA Today’s newsroom staffers are BIPOC, up from 21% in 2017.
The nation is around 40% BIPOC, writes USA Today editor in chief Nicole Carroll in a column. “This summer's events have pushed us to move faster with our plans, be bolder in their scope, be louder in our commitment,” she wrote.
According to the U.S. census, the nation is 12.5% Black; USA Today’s staff is 13.3%.
“However with Hispanics, the nation is 18.5%, our staff is 8%,” Carroll wrote.
With Asian Americans, the nation is at 5.8% and the newspaper’s staff at 5.7%. With Indigenous people, the country is 0.7%; the USA Today newsroom is 0.4%.
BIPOC make up 23.3% of the newsroom’s leadership, up from 14.7% in 2017.
The newsroom is 48.1% women. In 2017, women represented 36% of the team.
Currently, 56.7% of USA Today’s managers are women, up from 44% in 2017.
“To authentically and consistently tell the stories of our nation, our newsroom must reflect our nation,” Wadsworth wrote.
“How can we hope to fully understand the issues and needs of our communities if our newsrooms don’t reflect the people we serve?” she added.
Each local newsroom's top editor has also published their own version of the census, outlining their data in comparison with their community, and their goals for 2025. Wadsworth noted progress in two Texas newsrooms, El Paso and Corpus Christi, which now have majority diverse leadership teams.
USA Today, Wadsworth added, is the only major national newspaper with a female editor-in-chief, comprised of a leadership team that is 57% female.
Gannett also announced this week it is expanding its demographic data to be more inclusive, by providing employees the opportunity to voluntarily self-identify as diverse in ways beyond race and ethnicity, such as identifying as LGBTQ.
In her column, Wadsworth said the company is making significant investments in its coverage of race, equality and social justice.
Gannett is creating 20 national and 40 local jobs by the end of the year, focused on covering issues such as criminal justice, educational inequity, the roots of racism, environmental justice, fairness in housing and employment and LGBTQ issues.
More than one-third will be new hires, and the rest will come from “a reprioritization of existing reporting and editing resources,” Wadsworth wrote.