Boston UNITY letter to the Boston Globe

(The follow letter was sent to Boston Globe Editor Marty Baron this week)

March 16, 2009

Martin Baron
Editor of The Boston Globe
135 Morrissey Blvd.
Boston, MA  02125
Dear Mr. Baron,
As The Boston Globe prepares to reduce its newsroom staff, we’d like to remind the Globe of the importance of keeping a diverse staff.

For a city as diverse as Boston, where nearly half of its residents are people of color, a newsroom with a sizable percentage of Latino, African American, and Asian American staff is critical to providing accurate coverage of those communities that still lack decent media exposure.

It has been reported that the Globe plans to make staff cuts based on seniority.  However, because the Globe has hired many of its journalists of color only in the past few years, and because certain collective bargaining rules must be followed, such a strategy would unfairly reduce minority journalists at the Globe; many of us are nearly at the bottom of the seniority list in almost every department.

Any reduction of journalists of color at the Globe would make a less diverse and less relevant newspaper for our communities. The newspaper’s few journalists of color help create a product that offers balanced and creative coverage. These staffers bring to the table what their colleagues may not — speaking other languages, knowledge of the city’s mostly minority neighborhoods, and perspectives shared with the city’s minority residents.  We hope that specialized skills such as knowledge of other languages will be considered alongside seniority.

We understand the financial challenges the Globe faces, along with other newspapers across the country. Still, we implore you to take journalists of color into consideration on any upcoming decisions. A less diverse staff will not help the newspaper in its quest for long-term stability.

Our organizations all stand by the Globe.  Please let us know what we can do to help.

Sincerely,

Russell Contreras
National Association of Hispanic Journalists — New England, President

Shirley Goh
Asian American Journalists Association — New England Co-President

Latoyia Edwards
Boston Association of Black Journalists — President

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