Black Experience

NABJ’s Call for Diversity at CNN Grows

Color of Change, a national online force driven by more than 1.4 million members, is joining the National Association of Black Journalists’ (NABJ) call for a civil rights audit at CNN and more Black representation among its news leadership.

“When there’s more of us in the room fighting for our stories to be told, and raising awareness about the issues impacting our communities, we have an even better chance of creating change and ending the practices that unfairly hold us back,” said Color of Change in a statement released on Twitter. “We support @NABJ as they call for a civil rights audit and put pressure on @CNN President Jeff Zucker to make diversity and inclusion improvements at the network.”

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., with more than 120,000 members, has also joined the fight. In a statement released today, the organization said it “shares the concern of the National Association of Black Journalists about the lack of Black representation within the ranks of CNN’s executive news managers and direct reports to CNN President Jeff Zucker. As an organization specifically concerned with the issues affecting the African-American community, we lend our voices to those who would encourage constructive dialogue regarding creating an inclusive workplace at CNN.”

One of America’s foremost civil rights, religious and political figures the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., also made comments on the issue on Twitter, stating, “@CNN Pres Zucker refused to meet w/a 4-person @NABJ delegation. There are no Af-Am direct reports. There are no Af-Am Exec Prods @CNN. There are no VPs on the news side. There are no Af-Am Sr VPs on the news side of @CNN. Do not crush the darkness. Fight back with shifting eyes.”

Also lending its voice on Twitter is the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), which is the trade association of more than 200 African-American-owned community newspapers from around the United States.

NNPA President Dr. Benjamin Chavis Jr. tweeted: “NNPA supports the NABJ and NAACP #DiversityAndInclusion @CNN #EndRacism #MediaExclusion #RacialDiscrimination.”

NNPA’s Chairman and Chicago Crusader Publisher Dorothy Leavell, provided the following statement: “The National Newspaper Publishers Association is in full support of equal and fair treatment of Blacks in the media and stands solidly behind NABJ’s efforts to diversify CNN.”

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) also has spoken out on NABJ’s efforts.

“The people of this country depend on our news organizations to deliver unbiased & fair reporting,” she said on Twitter to her nearly 60,000 followers. “That is impossible without equal representation. I stand behind @NABJ’s investigation into the lack of diversity within CNN’s leadership. #MediaDiversity.”

News organizations from around the world have reported on NABJ’s call for more diversity in CNN’s executive leadership. Thousands of social media users, including actress and comedian Marsha Warfield, economist and social commentator Dr. Julianne Malveaux and spiritual leader and activist Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, have engaged in dialogue around NABJ’s call for CNN to prioritize diversity and inclusion.

In an NAACP statement released March 6 in support of NABJ, the organization underscored NABJ’s concerns: “CNN’s lack of Black representation in leadership roles is troubling and another example of the media industry’s reluctance to address an issue that continues to plague newsrooms across the country.”

Read our March 5 statement here.

Read our March 7 statement here.

The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is an organization of journalists, students and media-related professionals that provides quality programs and services to and advocates on behalf of Black journalists worldwide. Founded by 44 men and women on December 12, 1975, in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization of journalists of color in the nation.

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