Local journalism is among the most trusted sources in the U.S. But in order to report on and reflect the issues that matter to local communities, journalists and editors working in those newsrooms need to be reflective of the places and people they serve. The data is not encouraging—according to the Newsroom Employment Diversity Survey, in 2017, minority journalists comprised only 16.6 percent of the workforce in U.S. newsrooms—only a half- percentage point improvement from the previous year.
To help the local news industry with this diversity challenge, the Google News Initiative is partnering with the Local Media Association (LMA) to offer 50 scholarships to the Media Transformation 2018 conference taking place in Kansas City September 25-27. These scholarships will be awarded to a diverse mix of under-represented candidates on a first-come first-serve basis. The conference will educate attendees on sustainable business models, innovation, and media transformation for local news companies—and provide scholarship attendees an opportunity to grow their own careers and skills while bringing best practices back to the organizations they serve.
We’re also supporting the Women in Local Media Summit during the conference to advance women’s presence in the industry. The GNI will provide training, research and content to the LMA to enable a transparent discussion about increasing diversity of staff and news coverage during this session.
The Google News Initiative was formed to build a stronger future for journalism, in collaboration with the industry. Diversity in local journalism is core to that mission and we’ll continue to look for opportunities to help drive diversity and inclusion.