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Black News and Black Views with a Whole Lotta Attitude

The New York Times Reviews Its Review System. Sounds Like A Nightmare For Black and People of Color

A two-year study from New York Times Guild shows Black and Latino workers received lower scores than their white counterparts

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The New York Times building was seen in New York City on June 30, 2020. - The New York Times has become the highest-profile media organization to leave Apple News, saying the tech giant’s service was not helping achieve the newspaper’s subscription and business goals. The daily exit comes as news organizations worldwide struggle with declining print readership and an online environment where Google and Facebook dominate ad revenue.
The New York Times building was seen in New York City on June 30, 2020. - The New York Times has become the highest-profile media organization to leave Apple News, saying the tech giant’s service was not helping achieve the newspaper’s subscription and business goals. The daily exit comes as news organizations worldwide struggle with declining print readership and an online environment where Google and Facebook dominate ad revenue.
Photo: Johannes EISELE / AFP (Getty Images)

A comprehensive New York Times Guild study shows there is a long way to go concerning the publication and how Black and Latino workers receive performance review scores. Around 1,000 New York Times employees were chosen for this study, and the findings say people of color were less likely to receive strong job ratings than their white co-workers may have.

The entire study is based on two years of analysis from the union. Last year, the Times posted its diversity statistics, and people of color made up 33 percent of the company and 23 percent of its leadership positions. While the publication seeks to double the numbers by 2025 ambitiously, the discrepancies in review scores for minorities are hard to ignore. Journalists had told the union they were shocked to see gaps between excellent evaluations from editors and their numerical scores at the end of each year.

From NPR:

“Being Hispanic reduced the odds of receiving a high score by about 60%, and being Black cut the chances of high scores by nearly 50%,” says the report from the NewsGuild chapter representing employees of The New York Times. The study, shared before its release with NPR News, reflects data stretching back to 2018, when a new rating system was implemented.

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These scores are critical because employee bonuses are based on them. Economics reporter and active member of the guild Ben Casselman spoke to NPR and said they let the parent company know of the findings. Unfortunately, the guild claimed the company sought to “minimize the importance of the findings, suggesting it had used faulty logic.”

Times spokeswoman Rhoades Ha claimed the Times is knee-deep in a two-year action plan to “make the paper a great place to work for everyone.” These initiatives include new departments to address workplace culture and hiring heads of talent management.

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“The NewsGuild raised a similar issue last year about our ratings,” she adds. “We undertook our own expert analysis, which gave us confidence that our ratings were not applied in a discriminatory way.” The Times is already promising more improvements and is reviewing the latest guild findings, she says.