Updated June 9, 2022
Everyone at the American Journalism Project believes that this moment of crisis in local news also presents an urgent opportunity: a chance to build a local news ecosystem that is representative of the diversity of this country. This requires a strong commitment to building an organization and a portfolio of grantees that advances our commitment to equity.
We support local news because we know an informed citizenry is crucial for the strength of our society and the integrity of our democracy, and because we believe journalism can empower everyone with the information they need to engage and thrive civically. When newsrooms aren’t reflective of the communities they serve, there is less trust in local news, less community cohesion, and lower levels of civic engagement.
This is our second annual diversity report, and serves as a transparent accounting of our diversity statistics at the moment, and as a point of reflection for continuous improvement.
As funders and movement builders for local news, we make choices every day about how to invest our grantmaking resources, how we work with local partners, how we help our grantees recruit and retain diverse leadership, and how we develop systems and structures so the American Journalism Project is an equitable organization that is constantly learning.
We hope to encourage others in the journalism industry to follow similar processes. Throughout the year, we will share what we’re learning about efforts to make the local news media more representative and reflective of communities.
Our staff is 70 percent female and 30 percent male. This is similar to the philanthropic sector overall: 77 percent of philanthropic foundation staff identified as female in 2020, according to the Council on Foundations’s 2020 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Report.
Staff by gender identity
Thirty-eight percent of American Journalism Project staff identify as people of color, compared to 37 percent of private foundation staff overall.
Staff by race and ethnicity
Sixty percent of our senior leadership are women. Last year, our leadership team was 67 percent female. At private foundations overall, women held 58 percent of CEO and leadership roles in 2020.
Leadership by gender identity
Twenty percent of our senior leadership members identify as people of color. For private foundations overall, 10 percent of those in CEO and leadership roles identify as a person of color.
Leadership by race and ethnicity
Our Board of Directors
Our board includes experienced leaders from the news industry, business, the nonprofit sector, and philanthropy. Our board is 33 percent female and 67 percent male.
Board of Directors by gender identity
Thirty-three percent of our board identifies as Black or Hispanic and 75 percent identify as white.
Board of Directors by race and ethnicity
As we continue to grow our board, we have set goals to continue to diversify the gender, race, ethnicity, and expertise of our board members.
The American Journalism Project supports a portfolio of 32 nonprofit local newsrooms with investment in their business capacity and venture support for their leadership as they grow sustainable, resilient organizations. We are committed to creating a better, more diverse and more inclusive news media that advances human and civil rights. In order to receive an American Journalism Project grant, our grantees must be building a culture in which the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion are reflected throughout their operations.
One quarter of grantees in our portfolio, eight newsrooms, are led by an executive director or CEO who identifies as BIPOC or multiracial. This compares to 39 percent of nonprofit news organizations overall. Additionally, 45 percent of grantees have a person of color leading the newsroom.
In total, 39 percent of our grantees’ staff identify as people of color or multiracial. The racial makeup of newsrooms in our portfolio often reflects the places where they work and mirror the racial makeup of the American population as whole. According to the 2020 US census, 60 percent of Americans identify as white, 13 percent as Black, 19 percent as Hispanic, 6 percent as Asian, and 3 percent as multiracial. Nine of our 32 grantees are a majority people of color. All have specific missions to serve non-white audiences, often within larger markets, that are underserved by legacy media and other nonprofit local newsrooms. Sixty percent of our grantees’ staff identify as female and 31 percent as male.
Grantee staff hired with our funding
A core area of our venture support includes investing in the revenue and operations capacities at our grantee organizations so these teams can sustain and accelerate the growth of their newsroom, which in turn will deepen and expand their reporting to better serve their communities. A great portion of our grants support business roles across revenue streams at all levels of seniority in our grantee organizations.
Through May 2022, we have funded 120 revenue and operations roles in our portfolio, and 74 of those are currently filled. Of that group, 30 percent of funded hires identify as Black, 11 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 4 percent as Asian and 49 percent as white. 5 percent identify as multiracial. At the senior leadership level, 32 percent identify as Black, 11 percent as Asian, 5 percent as Hispanic or Latino and 53 percent as white.
Funded hires by race and ethnicity
With regard to gender, 74 percent of funded hires identify as female, 21 percent as male and 5 percent as nonbinary. Two people identify as transgender. At the senior leadership level, 63 percent identify as female and 37 percent as male.
Funded hires by gender identity
This report represents American Journalism Project staff and board members through April 2022. Grantee data is drawn from the INN Index 2022, an annual state of nonprofit news report from the Institute for Nonprofit News, and from individual surveys conducted by our external evaluation partner Impact Architects. The response rate to the survey sent to funded hires was 70 percent.
This is the American Journalism Project’s second annual diversity report. Download our 2021 diversity report here.