The Front Page: Inquiring about The Inquirer

Why are there no Black men reporting for the Philadelphia Inquirer (except on the the sports desk)?

It’s Friday, September 9th. 

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Why are there no Black men reporting for the Philadelphia Inquirer (except on the sports desk)?

Late last month, leadership from major Philadelphia journalism organizations published an open letter expressing “disappointment and displeasure” at the current state of the Inquirer and demanding immediate action. 

The letter was signed by the presidents from the Philadelphia chapters of the National Association of Black Journalists, Asian American Journalists Association, and National Association of Hispanic Journalists, as well as leadership from Free Press, another organization demanding accountability from the Inquirer. 

For any newspaper with a large staff, having no Black news reporters is abysmal. But it is especially horrific for a city that is, according to recent Census estimates, more than 40 percent Black.

Despite the magnitude of the problem and the tangible asks from organizations that represent journalists of color, Inquirer Publisher & CEO Lisa Hughes was dismissive of the concerns in an email to staff.

“Although there are voices outside of our organization looking to downplay and disregard the hard work that goes on each and every day at the Inquirer, we know better,” Hughes’ wrote. “We will not be discouraged, and we will not give in to their demands, threats, and belittlement.”

The coalition of leaders, calling themselves J.A.W.N — or Journalism Accountability Watchdog Network — aims to apply pressure on the Inquirer if dedicated meetings are not established with their group. Members of J.A.W.N said the response from Hughes disregarded their concerns and characterized it as “gaslighting.”  

“The time for airing our grievances and waiting for the Inquirer to make glacial-moving DEI changes has now neared its end,” the authors said in their initial public letter. “If the paper fails to fulfill this demand, J.A.W.N. will initiate a public campaign against the Inquirer.”

— Gabe Schneider, The Objective


A Bit More Media

Q&A: Caitlin Dickerson — For this week’s Q&A, Jireh Deng spoke with Caitlin Dickerson, staff writer at The Atlantic. During the conversation, Dickerson shares her advice for improving immigration reporting and insight on the changes she’s seen while covering the beat. 

The future of J-school — In a recent Politico article, Columbia Journalism School Dean Jelani Cobb contemplates the role of J-schools in a tumultuous time for the industry. “It’s not a novel idea that we need to find some other way for this to exist,” says Cobb.

 Stealing student stories —It’s become a common right of passage for student journalists: Another newsroom picks up their reporting and republishes it without credit. Hannah Docter-Loeb, a former student journalist for The Wesleyan Argus,explains how this practice harms the industry writ large

EJOC database — The Uproot Project is building a database of environmental journalists of color. Ultimately, the journalists will be able to connect with other reporters, editors, and sources in the field. To add your name to the database, you can fill out this form

National Native Media Conference — The Native American Journalists Association announced it will become the Indigenous Journalists Association, according to former NAJA president Tristan Ahtone and ICT.

Serena Williams For The Conversation, Erin Whiteside writes how Serena Williams changed sports journalism for the better. “Williams’ presence as a Black woman in a historically white, patriarchal sport […] forced sports journalists to reevaluate professional norms.”


Stay Up To Date 

3 days until … the Reimagining Philadelphia Journalism Summit. Registration is free for the Lenfest Institute’s two-day summit, which will take place in-person and online.

7 days until …Making News Coverage of Working Class Women More Community Centered. Community leaders and journalists will offer best practices and discuss challenges in this two-part event. 

11 days until …the Disabled Journalists Association’s event on navigating journalism and related careers with chronic illness or disability. Julia Métraux, Lygia Navarro, and Aiden Strawhun will host the Zoom event.

12 days until …Writing the Suicide News Story. A journalist and mental health professional join this training experience from WOSU Public Media. A second session in the series will take place on September 28.

What else should we feature? You tell us. Send an email to

A few more resources

Looking for a job? Here are a few places to look: INN | ONA | | 10 Jobs and a Dog | NABJ | AAJA | NAHJ | NLGJA | @WritersofColor | MEO Jobs | Freelance Journalist Rates | Source Jobs | Opportunities of the Week ($)   

How about a style guide? Trans Journalist Association | Diversity Style Guide | Tribal Nations Media Guide | NABJ Style Guide | Disability Language Style Guide | AAJA Guide to Covering Asian Pacific America | NAHJ Cultural Competence Handbook |  SPJ Race & Gender Hotline | AMEJA Media Resource Guide | The Press in Prison

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This issue is by Holly Rosewood, Gabe Schneider, and Curtis Yee with editing by Curtis Yee.

Our stories are funded by readers like you. 

The Objective is a nonprofit newsroom holding journalism accountable for past and current systemic biases in reporting and newsroom practices. We are written by and for those underrepresented in journalism.

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