It’s not exactly a trade secret that media organizations are working to make their newsrooms more diverse, with the ultimate goal of creating content that’s more representative of their audience. Through internship opportunities, targeted recruiting initiatives and thoughtful mentoring programs for underrepresented groups, the wheel is beginning to turn, albeit slowly. (Among the many challenges is the shrinking of news staff; how does a well-meaning editor or executive producer recruit for diversity when they are simultaneously being told to reduce headcount?)
Obviously, the push for greater diversity in the ranks of the Fourth Estate is a long-term project, but we’ve been struck by another trend that we think holds great promise for accelerating progress toward the goal of more representative content—explicit demands from journalists for greater diversity in their sources.
This phenomenon hit home in December. When we shared a rundown of the senior financial markets experts the Lowe Group works with out to a large list of financial media, a wire service reporter responded by pointedly asking whether the list included diverse voices. Fortunately, it did—though, truth be told, not as many as it should have—and we also were able to direct the questioner to additional diverse sources among our clients as well.
In the weeks after this episode, we started noticing other examples of financial media crying out for diverse voices—a plaintive Tweet addressed to “PR folks” from an economics editor at Quartz. A CNBC producer who added “Diversity & Inclusion Focus” to their job title.
It has certainly made us reflect on what we might do differently and how we can do better. While we had already undertaken concrete initiatives within our own organization aimed at making the Lowe Group a more inclusive and welcoming place to work, we recognize that, as intermediaries between financial services firms and financial media, there is an opportunity to make an impact well beyond the four walls of our humble suburban Milwaukee offices.
That’s why one of our firm-wide goals for 2021 is to work with our clients to make sure we are aware of the full extent of their diversity (on male-dominated Wall Street, by the way, we would argue that diversity includes women as well as BIPOC and LGBTQ+ voices) and that we are including them in our pitches to media.
If those diverse voices aren’t quite ready? We’re glad to provide media training—we do it all the time – as well as to look for lower profile opportunities initially, thus giving those new to media interviews some practice when the stakes aren’t too high.
So, hats off to the journalists who are looking to connect with more diverse sources. We’re ready to help.