OP-ED: Dear ProPublica Board Members, Business Advisors, Journalism Advisory Board, Content Partners, Editors, Reporters and Supporters: What’s wrong with this picture?

ProPublica says they’re committed to diversity. Their hiring record raises some serious questions

Louise Kiernan with ProPublica Chicago employees in elevator

Hint No 1: On May 19, 2017 ProPublica posted the following advertisement:

capture propublica

Hint No 2: They were very specific in whom they were targeting using the following language:

“We are dedicated to improving our newsroom, in part by better reflecting the people we cover. We’re committed to diversity and especially encourage members of underrepresented communities to apply, including women, people of color, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities.”

Hint No 3: However, as the above photo depicts, there were no Black reporters hired. Yet, the ensuing headlines occurred:

nina martin

Written by Nina Martin and published on December 7, 2017: https://www.propublica.org/article/nothing-protects-black-women-from-dying-in-pregnancy-and-childbirth

ProPublica Adrianna Gallards

Written by Adriana Gallardo and published on Dec 8, 2017: https://www.propublica.org/article/black-women-disproportionately-suffer-complications-of-pregnancy-and-childbirth-lets-talk-about-it

Annie Waldman

And: https://www.propublica.org/article/how-hospitals-are-failing-black-mothers, written by Annie Waldman

published on December 27, 2017.

Now I may not be a Pulitzer Prize-winner or a Harvard graduate, but it shouldn’t take that to see that your blatant exploitation of Black women’s pain and suffering is not only wrong, but also morally and ethically reprehensible.

No disrespect to the three smart reporters who did what they were told to do. But, this pattern and practice of exploitation flies in the face of your published advertisement “improving our newsroom.”

Those three stories were specifically written about what some Black women might encounter when it comes to health care. So for the sake of clarity: Could you please explain how assigning three non-Black reporters to write their stories somehow better reflects the people that you cover?

If you really meant what you said then the photos above would look entirely different. Who do you think you’re fooling? 

Stay tuned for this developing story. There’s much more to come!


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