Sincerely, Leaders of Color: To whom it may concern
We’re opening a space for and by leaders of color in newsrooms. You can help us.
About this series: Sincerely, Leaders of Color is written for everyone in the journalism industry who cares about creating a more supportive environment for journalists of color to do their best work. Have a question for the team? Drop it here and watch for it in a future column.
Change has gone beyond simply being in the air. Change is in the water, stuck on our keyboards, and embedded in our minds.
For 10 or so years, the two of us have been friends and coaches to each other as much as we have others. On our path, we’ve seen racism, shed tears of terror and joy, and experienced both poor and amazing leadership and management. We have supported each other and debated just how revolutionary we can be without getting fired.
The conversations we have had — between ourselves and with others — have pushed us. We have gone from rebels to Middles, to leading newsrooms. But we count ourselves lucky that we are still here.
So, we are excited to open this space, a column for people who want a different experience for journalists of color in their newsroom. We’re calling it: Sincerely, Leaders of Color.
When the change hit, we wanted to do something. We saw a deep need to support the journalists of color who want to succeed and lead, but also to support people who want to be true allies and do not know where to start.
This isn’t a space where we will address why racism is wrong. This isn’t a space where we can fix everything. But we hope to foster productive conversations (including direct dialogue with one another in the DEI Coalition), create new lines of thinking, and address solvable problems — problems that we can truly fix through individual actions and collective change.
We’ve opened a suggestion box for anyone to put their thoughts or questions you’d like us to address in the column. We have a few ideas to start with, but we will aim to try to give advice and candor to problems and ideas that are brought forth.
Every other week, you’ll find something from us. It may be answering a set of questions, or an essay on current topics of conversation. We’ll also share what we’re reading and seeing.
Both of us were volunteers on the DEI Coalition project, and it was built with the kind of forward thinking that we are looking for, and we are grateful to OpenNews for allowing us to host this space on Source. Though, that is just it, we are hosts. In fact, we are two Asian-American women who were able to go to universities, and come from relative middle-class backgrounds in the Midwest. We cannot and do not represent a broad swath of experience, only our own.
In addition to these missives from us, we are welcoming guest writers and editors, who will be paid. Those folks will have this space to host a conversation or highlight what they are thinking about and what they need others to hear.
You won’t find complaining here. This is also a space for anyone who wants newsrooms to be more supportive of journalists of color, so it’s not preaching to the choir. We also are not a job board or a recruiting firm (there are plenty of other places for that).
The point of this is how we build better connections without burning it all down, or at least burning it all down sustainability. Frankly, few leaders are prepared or taught how to lead inclusively, and even fewer journalists of color who make it to management are given any preparation at all.
We’re glad you made it here. We’re glad we made it here. Now let’s make it better for everyone.
Here’s what is next.
- Submit to our suggestion box! We’re looking for topics, guest writers, and questions to answer.
- Give us feedback on what you think can happen in this space
- Share this call to arms with a colleague.
P. Kim Bui
Emma Carew Grovum
Leaders of Color
P. Kim Bui is the director of product and audience innovation at the Arizona Republic. She’s focused her career on leading real-time news initiatives and creating storytelling forms for digital, print and broadcast companies catering to local, national and global audiences. Prior, she was editor-at-large for NowThis News, focusing on original, social reporting and breaking news. She was also deputy managing editor for reported.ly, a digital media startup specializing in social journalism. She’s been a speaker, trainer and teacher on leadership and digital journalism at universities, conferences and gatherings worldwide. She writes a newsletter for emerging leaders and managers, The Middles: themiddl.es
Emma Carew Grovum is a journalist and technologist in New York City. As the founder of Kimbap Media, she coaches and consults with newsrooms on key strategy areas including leadership, product thinking, and diversity/equity/inclusion.