NBC News makes open ended commitment to more diverse workforce

By Michael P. Hill Article may include affiliate links

NBC News has given itself the goal of having a more diverse staff.

NBCUniversal News Group Chairman Cesar Conde, who recently replaced Andy Lack, announced the initiative in a memo July 7, 2020.

The announcement coincided with “Blackout Day 2020” — an effort to encourage Black Americans from buying anything to showcase the community’s impact on the economy.

Dubbed the “Fifty Percent Challenge,” NBC News has set a goal — without any specific timeframes — to evolve its staff to be at least 50% women and 50% people of color.

The news division currently employs about 3,000 people and is already close to meeting the 50% female threshold.

However, only 26.5% of the staff are people of color, with the breakdown approximately 8% each being Black, Hispanic or Asian with 2% identifying as multiracial and less than 1% as Native American.

While no timelines have been announced, the network said it will start releasing progress updates in early 2021.

Below is the full text to the memo Conde sent.

Hey all,

Over the past several weeks we have covered a country reckoning with systemic inequality and the painful consequences of a long history of racial injustice. Thanks to your hard work and skill, we have reported on this difficult moment thoughtfully, connecting audiences with context and insight at a time when it is desperately needed.

During times like this, I know we all feel a heavy responsibility to our audience. But we have another important responsibility to meet as well – to each other and the news organization we all value. That’s why we have spent so much time over the past few weeks looking inward, asking tough questions and examining what we should be doing differently in our own house. It is clear from those conversations that there is a reservoir of good will and righteous intentions within our walls. It is also clear that the time for action is now. Our introspection and dialogue must continue, but on a parallel path we will lay out a plan for an even more inclusive workplace. And we will start executing now.

Today, I want to share with you the details of our Fifty Percent Challenge Initiative. As you know, the pace of demographic change in America is accelerating. As a news organization we have a unique responsibility to reflect the country and all of the communities we serve. Simply put, we aspire to achieve two concrete goals: that 50% of our News organization employees be women and 50% of our total workforce be people of color.

To achieve these goals, we have developed a detailed action plan based on your feedback in our many discussions. This plan has five pillars: investment and recruitment, content, education and development, partnerships, and measurement.

I hope you will take a few minutes to watch the accompanying video message and review the details of our plan included in the below slides. Over the next week or so, we will join and convene meetings across the News Group to get your thoughts and answer any questions as we undertake this essential mission together.

Over the next 100 days, we will be asking all of you to provide feedback on our action plan and how we should hold ourselves accountable. At the end of those 100 days, we will reconvene as a group to review our progress, potentially add to the plan, and collectively decide on the key metrics to track our progress.

As a news organization focused on the future, we will not wait for that change to happen and then simply react. Instead, we will lead.

Take care,

Cesar Conde
Chairman, NBCUniversal News Group