FOR RELEASE: February 18, 2020
: Dillon LewisPress@nlgja.org
WASHINGTON – NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists, National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) and Journalism & Women Symposium (JAWS) met with ViacomCBS Executive Vice President, Global Head of Inclusion Marva Smalls on February 13. Candid discussions centered on diversity and inclusion (D&I) paths and the ViacomCBS commitment in the future following the merger of Viacom and CBS last December.
The journalism organizations requested the meeting because members wanted assurances that diversity and inclusion were important components of future plans at the company.
The paths discussed centered on transparency and accountability in data and demographics. Participants agreed metrics associated with data and demographics are critical parts of accountability. Such accountability helps create newsrooms that are inclusive and reflective to better serve communities. All participants agreed to ongoing discussions around these topics and that those discussions coupled with a strong ViacomCBS plan and mutual accountability have the potential for desirable outcomes.
Smalls challenged the group to be mutually accountable by sharing specific challenges and opportunities during the groups’ ongoing discussions with ViacomCBS. The groups discussed the ongoing responsibility to respective memberships and industries as a whole to shed light on metrics to ensure hearing, learning and positive outcomes are obtained regarding D&I initiatives.The group also discussed opportunities broader than journalism that have an impact on D&I initiatives because ViacomCBS and other media companies’ interests also span entertainment and film, television, publishing and digital media. ViacomCBS signaled openness for future dialogue to engage the groups “collective brain trust” regarding D&I initiatives on all of its platforms.
The groups will be meeting separately with executives at CBS News and CBS Television Stations. The journalism groups want to share concerns about the current culture at specific station groups/ business units.
“NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists is proud to collaborate with our partners in diversity to promote coverage and newsroom culture that is respectful of LGBTQ communities and communities of color,” said NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists President Sharif Durhams. “Open communication allows us to better strive for coverage that is increasingly inclusive and intersectional. We appreciate the willingness of ViacomCBS to hear the thoughts and concerns of our respective organizations and look forward to continuing the conversation with all of our partners moving forward.”
About NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists
NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists is a journalist-led association working within the news media to advance fair and accurate coverage of LGBTQ communities and issues. We promote diverse and inclusive workplaces by holding the industry accountable and providing education, professional development and mentoring. For more information, visit www.nlgja.org.