In the ten months since I emailed Nick Denton and other top executives about the responsibility and commitment Gawker Media had to diversity hiring and sustainability, the company has grown tremendously—building video and social strategy teams, as well as hiring a number of qualified candidates for various positions across editorial, business, and tech.
Denton, our founder and CEO, likes to talk a great deal about the company’s duty to truth, fearlessness, and transparency, and in the spirt of those principles, I emailed company president Heather Dietrick along with Heidi Grothaus, our director of people operations, to request they release the company’s diversity numbers to the staff in late October. It was a simple question I felt deserved an answer: Just how diverse is Gawker Media?
Two weeks ago, writing for the New York Times Magazine, founding Jezebel editor Anna Holmes reflected on the evolving nature and understanding of “diversity” in the workplace. “It’s almost as if cheerfully and frequently uttering the word ‘diversity’ is the equivalent of doing the work of actually making it a reality,” she wrote, before adding: “Why is there such a disparity between the progress that people in power claim they want to enact and what they actually end up doing about it?”
Today Gawker Media released internal diversity data. In a post on Politburo, Executive Editor John Cook noted:
Only the editorial numbers are within my sphere of responsibility. They are, frankly, not satisfying. We are committed to publishing them periodically in order to demonstrate progress in increasing staff diversity, or foster accountability if we fail to do so. We are looking at potential reforms to our hiring process to increase diversity of candidates, and we will be transparent about those efforts once they are instituted.
Many of my colleagues and I are trying to make our workplace a more inclusive and equitable environment in which to work and grow (and, as Holmes writes, perhaps bring “a more integrated, textured world” into being). Maybe I’m a glass-half-full kind of guy, but I believe we can cultivate this more inclusive, equitable environment at Gawker Media. We still don’t work in an ideal office setting (“Gawker Media is 79 percent white and 57 percent male”) but our initiatives over the last year have, despite some bumps here and there, proven we remain committed to doing the work.
I should say: my intention in asking for this data was an attempt to hold Gawker Media more accountable as it continues to mature. It’s important that we, as a company, see how far we’ve come, but also see how far we have to go. We owe ourselves and our readers that much.
These numbers are only a start; they are a foundation for Gawker Media to build upon as it looks ahead to 2016. After all, there’s much more work to be done.