As we work to advance and rebuild local news across the country, we have an urgent, pressing opportunity: to build a local news ecosystem that reflects the diversity of our country. At the American Journalism Project, we are strongly committed to building an organization and portfolio of grantees that advances our commitment to equity.
An informed citizenry is crucial for the strength of our society and the integrity of our democracy. Journalism can empower everyone with the information they need to engage and thrive civically. And when newsrooms don’t represent the communities they serve, there are lower levels of civic engagement, less community engagement, and less trust in local news.
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 we are an equitable organization that is constantly learning.
Below, you will find our third annual diversity report — a transparent accounting of our diversity statistics, including our staff, leadership, board, and grantees. Each year, we produce this report to serve as a point of reflection for continuous improvement as we work to help build a more diverse and equitable local news field. Elevating diversity is just one piece of the puzzle to build inclusive communities that foster a sense of belonging. We hope to encourage others in the journalism industry to follow similar processes.
Our staff is 76 percent female and 24 percent male. This is similar to the philanthropic sector overall: 77 percent of philanthropic foundation staff identified as female and 23 percent as male in 2022, according to the Council on Foundations’s 2022 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Report.
Our staff by gender identity
Forty-eight percent of American Journalism Project staff identify as people of color, compared to 30 percent of philanthropic foundation staff overall. Among those, 16 percent identify as African American/Black, 20 percent as Asian, 8 percent as multiracial, and 4 percent as North African/Middle Eastern. No one identified as American Indian/Alaskan Native, Hispanic/Latino, or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.
Our staff by race and ethnicity
Sixty percent of our senior leadership are women. In foundations overall, women held 69 percent of CEO and leadership roles in 2022.
Leadership by gender identity
Twenty percent of our senior leadership members identify as people of color (Asian). In foundations overall, 29 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 36 percent female and 64 percent male, compared to 45 percent female and 54 percent male across all foundations.
Board of Directors by gender identity
Thirty-six percent of our board identifies as people of color and 64 percent identify as white. Among those who identify as people of color, 18 percent identify as African American/Black, 9 percent as multiracial, and 9 percent as Hispanic/Latino. No one identified as American Indian/Alaskan Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, or North African/Middle Eastern. In foundations overall, 22 percent of board members identify as people of color.
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 41 grantees (37 established organizations and four concepts currently being incubated) with investments 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.
49 percent of grantees have a person of color leading the newsroom. One quarter of grantees in our portfolio – nine newsrooms – are led by an executive director or CEO who identifies as BIPOC or multiracial. This compares to 20 percent of nonprofit news organizations overall. (Note: the four concepts under incubation were announced after this survey was conducted, and their leadership is not included in these percentages).
In total, 45 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, 64 percent of Americans identify as white, 12 percent as African American/Black, 16 percent as Hispanic/Latino, 5 percent as Asian, 2 percent as multiracial, and less than 1 percent as American Indian/Alaska Native or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. (The US Census counts Middle Eastern/North African communities as white.) Staff at our grantee organizations are 51 percent white, 17 percent African American/Black, 14 percent Hispanic/Latino, 8 percent Asian, 4 percent multiracial, 1 percent Middle Eastern/North African, 3 percent American Indian/Alaskan Native, and less than 1 percent Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. One percent of the staff did not disclose their racial identities. In other words, all racial minorities except for the Hispanic/Latino and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander communities are overrepresented at our grantee organizations.
Sixty percent of our grantees’ staff identify as female, 38 percent as male, and 2 percent as non-binary. (According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, men make up 53% of the workforce.)
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 2023, we have filled 79 revenue and operations roles in our portfolio. 58 people in those positions responded to our 2023 survey.
Among the respondents, 26 percent of AJP-funded hires identify as Black, 17 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 3 percent as Asian, 3 percent identify as multiracial, and 50 percent as white. No one identified as American Indian/Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, or North African/Middle Eastern. At the senior leadership level, 22 percent identify as Black, 13 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 4 percent as Asian, 4 percent as multiracial, and 57 percent as white. No one identified as American Indian/Alaskan Native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, or North African/Middle Eastern.
AJP-funded hires by race and ethnicity
With regard to gender, 76 percent of funded hires identify as female, 19 percent as male, and 5 percent as nonbinary. At the senior leadership level, 69 percent identify as female, 22 percent as male, and 9 percent as nonbinary.
Funded hires by gender identity
This is the American Journalism Project’s third-annual diversity report. This report represents American Journalism Project staff and board members through June 2023. Grantee data is drawn from the INN Index 2023, an annual state of nonprofit news report from the Institute for Nonprofit News, and from individual surveys conducted among AJP-funded positions by our team. The response rate to the survey sent to funded hires was 72 percent.