EDITORIAL: Time to wake up The Wall Street Journal
Media outlet can, should make efforts to diversify newsroom
It is always weirdly "meta" when a news organization is in the news itself. So it could be alarming to see The Wall Street Journal in every headline except for its own.
The Wall Street Journal was recently in the news because of its own staff members expressing their discontent over the representation (or lack thereof) of women and minorities in the newsroom. An estimated 160 editors and reporters drafted and began signing a letter to the management communicating the importance of having women and people of color not only in the newsroom but behind the publications that The Wall Street Journal put out as well.
The letter seemed to have come at a desperate time, following the departure of Rebecca Blumenstein, who was The Wall Street Journal’s now former deputy editor-in-chief. Blumenstein’s leave left the newsroom with only four women compared to the four men, and a majority of the higher-ranking positions in the hands of white men.
The letter included some statistics.
The staffers of The Wall Street Journal who signed the letter noted that only 18 percent of its writers, editors and journalists were people of color. They also proposed a list of suggestions as to what the newsroom could do to ensure increased representations of women and minorities. These suggestions included a “Rooney rule,” where minorities and women are always considered for positions, efforts to hire a female lead, efforts to quote women more in stories and closer examinations of salary reports for employees. And while these are all great efforts to get women and minorities more involved in The Wall Street Journal, and these should definitely be pushed to be implemented, the staffers should not be as hard on the management for the dynamics of the office that were already in place.
It is very easy to look to The Wall Street Journal and immediately condemn it for representing white men more than anyone else.
But The Wall Street Journal, although not blatantly, is generally considered to be a right-leaning news outlet. The Wall Street Journal’s Editor-in-Chief Gerard Baker has recently come under the scrutiny of other media outlets for not being as aggressive in its coverage of President Donald J. Trump as others. In fact, it was said that Baker was actually encouraging his writers to be tougher on Trump’s opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Why is this important to The Wall Street Journal’s innocence in terms of its demographics?
When looking at which people make up the Republican and Democratic parties, one can see that a majority of white groups are Republican, as shown through white male groups who have completed some college or less (54 percent), white southerner groups (55 percent) and white evangelical Protestant groups (68 percent). Meanwhile, a majority of black groups (80 percent), Asian groups (65 percent), post-graduate women groups (64 percent) and Hispanic groups (56 percent) are mostly affiliated with the Democratic Party. This means that the women and minorities that the staffers of The Wall Street Journal are attempting to bring in are not as readily available as the white men who already make up the newsroom.
That being said, the staff of The Wall Street Journal is nowhere near wrong in their attempt to diversify their newsroom. Although women and minorities are less prevalent in the Republican Party, they still very much exist. And if The Wall Street Journal makes an honest effort to bring more diversity to their publication, they will not only please their own staff, but also make important strides for a more inclusive overall media.
The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 149th editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.