Jeff Bezos: An Open Letter on Diversity at the Washington Post

At her blog, Farai.com, Farai Chideya writes an open letter congratulating new Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos on his acquisition and stressing the importance of newsroom diversity, which is "critical for good journalism."

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Arguing that diversity is "critical for good journalism," Farai Chideya, at her blog, Farai.com, writes an open letter congratulating new Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos on his acquisition and stressing the importance of a heterogeneous staff.

As I outlined in a recent article for The Nation magazine, staffing and editorial diversity is critical for good journalism, and critical to good business decisions generally and specifically within the context of this industry. Truth-telling is not a franchise owned by any one group, and the lack of diversity undermines our ability as reporters to get to the core of important stories. When you say "The values of the Post do not need changing," you may want to consider that some of them do. Valuing the monetary and journalistic value of diversity more greatly could be a great change in values — a critique not so much of the Post but of our industry broadly, and an issue that as a new newspaper owner should be of great interest to you.

I realize that you've bought The Washington Post with your personal fortune, not as an acquisition for Amazon. However, I noted that Amazon was one of the technology companies that refused to release it's EEO-1 data: an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission mandatory filing on staff diversity. While the filing is mandatory, its release is not. And although some other tech companies voluntarily released their statistics, Amazon did not. The technology industry has a deep-rooted but not intractable problem with attracting women engineers and coders (less of whom are in the pipeline to begin with), as well as racial diversity challenges. But the only way to address these issues is by recognizing them and facing them head on, not by hiding your data. 

Read Farai Chideya's entire piece at Farai.com.

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