Panel: Why diversity matters in online journalism

Online news startups are popping up everywhere from legacy news organizations to new media companies, as digital entrepreneurs rethink how journalists report, promote, and present stories. But for all this digital innovation, these startups lag behind the times in one crucial area: their hiring choices.

In a much-discussed column in The Guardian, media pundit Emily Bell argued that startups, such as FiveThirtyEight,, and First Look Media, perpetuated the status quo by hiring “clubhouses” of white men. As Bell wrote, “remaking journalism in its own image, only with better hair and tighter clothes, is not a revolution, or even an evolution.” 

Gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, and experience disparities remain in many online newsrooms, despite the widely accepted view that diverse staffs produce more well-rounded news coverage. 

Join the Online News Association’s Boston group for a panel discussion about diversity in online newsrooms on July 23 at 7 p.m. at WBUR. Food and refreshments will be served.

About the panelists:

Michelle Johnson is Associate Professor of the Practice, Multimedia Journalism, Boston University. Johnson is a former editor for the Boston Globe and For more than 15 years, she has conducted multimedia workshops for professional journalists and worked with student training programs for a variety of professional journalism organizations including the Maynard Institute, the Online News Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Asian American Journalists Association and UNITY. Johnson currently oversees Boston University News Service, a web-only award-winning news site which showcases work produced by BU’s journalism students. 

Zuri Berry is a sports writer and producer for the Boston Globe's, covering the New England Patriots. He also serves as the vice president of the Boston Association of Black Journalists.  

Jeanne Brooks is the co-founder and director of News Disruptors, where she designs immersive community experiences that bridge personal and digital connections. She also works for WNYC on audience development and engagement. Previously the Digital Director at the Online News Association, she led the organization’s web, social and communications strategy and produced training programs for digital journalists, including spearheading conference programming and coverage for the acclaimed ONA13 event.

Caroline O'Donovan will moderate the discussion. O'Donovan is a staff writer at Harvard's Nieman Journalism Lab, where she covers, media, technology and the future of the news business. As a Lab staffer, she's been heard on both NPR's All Things Considered and CBS radio. Previously, she was a fellow at Chicago Public Media, where she reported and produced stories in the Chicago area, as well as for American Public Media's Marketplace.

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Panel was great. I'm wondering how do we increase attendance ... especially among the demographics that most need to learn about diversity.

    July 28, 2014

  • Sonya

    Will this discussion be aired? I'm very interested in attending it but I'll be out of town that day.

    June 25, 2014

  • Dan K.

    Argh. Wanted to go to this, but I have a conflict.

    July 22, 2014

  • Katie C.

    If you haven't been to WBUR before, it's at 890 Commonwealth Ave., but the entrance is on the St. Paul Street side. It's on the third floor. The T stop on the BC green line is St. Paul. If you're driving, there are meters on St. Paul Street and street parking for Brookline around the corner. You can also park in Agannis Arena across the street.

    July 21, 2014

  • Eleanor

    Hi, just joined ONA and wondering if students can come to events? Thanks!

    July 20, 2014

    • Tiffany C.

      Sure Eleanor, students are welcome. Just rsvp here on the meetup page. Thanks!

      1 · July 21, 2014

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