Focusing on Inclusion

Worldwide protests over the killing of George Floyd and dialogues about Black Lives Matter are creating unprecedented discussions about diversity, equity and inclusion. And while these are issues to take seriously, rarely has the demand for action been stronger.

A wave of resignations in major nonprofits and media organizations have been prompted by failures at the top to deliver on inclusion, disrespect for employees of color, and systemic exclusion of diverse voices in boards, leadership and management roles. How should leaders in their current positions respond?

On Wednesday, July 8, NFCB will host a webinar on the state of diversity, equity and inclusion in community media. It features a variety of speakers to share their insights and offer some tools for your station to address these issues. The webinar is free and open to all. Register here.

The puzzle for community radio, especially in rural, sparsely populated areas, is complicated. How can a station attract diverse voices when the local populations on the whole are not diverse? How can stations in virtually all-white communities that are themselves virtually all-white too create a welcoming environment?

Here are a few reads for white managers who are looking to foster more diversity, equity and inclusion at their stations:

  • How do you win others over to take on diversity as a priority at stations? According to Harvard Business Review, a study suggests stakeholders may best be educated by talking about accountability – focusing on the opportunities, potential for litigation, and more. Fears of job loss and resentment at new policies can breed resistance, researchers note. They offer some approaches.
  • At the Columbia Journalism Review, Vann R. Newkirk II, a Black journalist, pinpoints several practical points for white managers to work on by looking at diversity as a second job. Among the recommendations: creating viable pipelines to support new leaders of color; making your wages on par with your needs to attract nontraditional staff members; and looking at inclusion not simply as the ‘right thing to do,’ but a central strategy for advancing your organization and solidifying its future.
  • “In our research, we identified a central theme: Industry norms, values and routines — reinforced by the overrepresentation of White, usually male, journalists in middle-management roles — have created workspaces that actively devalue the presence and contributions of employees from underrepresented groups.” Strong words from Poynter also offer solutions for white managers hoping to build inclusive organizations. Improving cultural competency, the redistribution of power, and striving to address isolation (in many forms) are a few tactics for creating change locally.
  • Sisi Wei zeroes in on how our ideals of equity and inclusion can be sidelined during a crisis like COVID-19. How can you keep your station from being derailed by the conflict-of-the-day and stay the course? Here are a few foundational approaches to keep you grounded in making your radio station one that embraces diversity and equity.

You are encouraged to follow NFCB on social media for the latest on this and other issues impacting community radio.

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