The issue about diversity is burning up the web right now, because journalists of color are upset with the latest Forbes Under-30 Media List. Not one person is Latino, African American or Native American. There are a few Asian Americans.
Forbes unveiled its list stating:
“These are the people who aren’t waiting to reinvent the world. FORBES, leaning on the wisdom of its readers and the greatest minds in business, presents the 30 disrupters under 30, in each of 12 fields, making a difference right now.”
Robert Hernandez made me aware of the issue when he posted on Facebook “Apparently Forbes does not know any Black or Latino journos under 30….let’s introduce them to some. Please tweet them some names.”
Hernandez is assistant professor at USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. He’s also a current board member with the Online News Association and past board member with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
Soon after Hernandez put out that call on Twitter; journalists started tweeting suggestions to Forbes. Alexandra Talty, a spokeswoman with Forbes talked to Richard Prince who blogs about journalists of color for The Maynard Institute. Talty told Journal-isms:
“While there are over fifty people of color on our other 30 Under 30 lists, diversity in media remains a national issue, which this list reflects.”
WHO DID THE CHOOSING?
Forbes asked its readers to nominate candidates for the list. The staff also submitted names. I just can’t believe that when they laid out the photos and bios of the top 30—no one said “wait a minute, what’s missing here?”
I’m wondering who were the judges. Was it a diverse group that included Latinos, African Americans and Native Americans?
DON’T IGNORE THE ISSUE
An effort has to be made to make everyone feel “included.” That’s the bottomline. Today no magazine, newspaper, online news site or television station can afford to lose readers and viewers. Not when we have so much news at our fingertips.
If journalists of color are upset that Forbes did not include one African American, Latino or Native American on its media list; don’t you think they will let others know?
On a broader look, if people of color do not feel included in a story; they will stop buying your newspaper or magazine or they’ll change the television channel. Forbes thought this golden list of people under 30 was going to be a wonderful way to end 2011, but for journalists of color—it was a slap in the face.
DO IT RIGHT
My suggestion to Forbes; DIVERSIFY in all areas. Your spokeswoman said “diversity in media remains a national issue.” There you have it! Do a story on the lack of diversity in the media and start with your magazine. Take an inside look.
Learn what Forbes is learning today from bad press: Diversity matters!
Rebecca Aguilar is an Emmy Award winning reporter with 30 years in the business. She’s a member of the SPJ Diversity Committee and a board member with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the SPJ Fort Worth Chapter.