LOS ANGELES – SAG-AFTRA in collaboration with the SAG-AFTRA Broadcast Steering Committee today released the following statement on Diversity and the News:
The Coronavirus Pandemic, the resultant devastating economic impact, and the Black Lives Matter demonstrations have exposed inequities in health care, jobs, criminal justice, and schools.
These crises have also exposed a significant lack of diversity in many of the newsrooms called upon to report on these issues.
We, the members of the SAG-AFTRA National Broadcast Steering Committee, strongly reaffirm our commitment to fairness, equity, and diversity in hiring, assignment, compensation, training opportunities and advancement in broadcast news organizations.
We believe that radio, television, and online news organizations should truly represent and reflect the multicultural communities they serve.
We remember the Civil Rights era - more than 50 years ago - when companies explained their lack of black, brown, and other non-white minority staff members by claiming they could not find any who were qualified.
We hear the same response today and ask where are they looking?
We urge employers, now, to actively search, to reach out to schools, organizations, and associations that connect to the wider communities in order to recruit potential applicants.
We ask employers to devote resources to provide meaningful professional development and mentorship opportunities for their employees.
We believe that diverse voices provide the opportunity to rethink how newsrooms cover many crucial issues, especially the issue of race.
We believe diversity in newsrooms can cause necessary challenges to established majority viewpoints, can help guide what and how stories are covered, can bring better balance and focus, and can ensure that authentic voices of under-covered communities are heard.
We believe that the Pandemic, the economic crisis, and the outcry over police brutality have underscored the effects of racial inequities that permeate our society.
And, finally, we believe that only a truly diverse newsroom can adequately report on these issues and bring our listeners and viewers the information they need to live their lives and to govern themselves.
The above statement was approved unanimously by the SAG-AFTRA Broadcast Steering Committee at its quarterly meeting on June 20, 2020.