WASHINGTON, DC (June 23, 2011)- Today, Gannett and NABJ's leadership discu-The headline on a National Association of Black Journalists news release yesterday incorrectly described the Gannett Co.'s workforce that was laid off this week as "journalists'." The 700 positions within Gannett's U.S. Community Publishing Division that were eliminated included journalists as well as other employees.
Today, Gannett and NABJ's leadership discussed the company's diversity record and the impact of the layoffs on journalists of color.
Virgil Smith, Gannett's vice president of Talent Acquisition and Diversity, said the company does not release specific numbers about the ethnicity of its workforce. He reiterated the company's longstanding commitment to diversity.
"This was something we truly hoped to avoid," said Smith. "We track the impact [of layoffs] to make sure no group is adversely affected."
"We've been able to maintain our percentage of minorities and females across the entire enterprise since 2006. Historically, we have maintained our percentage of minority employees within one percent. On the journalism side, we have not lost more than 2 percent. Gannett has been and will continue to be an industry leader in diversity in our newsrooms and throughout the company," Smith added.
"NABJ and Gannett have shared a strong partnership over many years and have successfully worked together to promote and support diversity within the industry and at Gannett. We look forward to working with the company to find jobs and to address the needs of our displaced members and other journalists," said NABJ President Kathy Y. Times. "Our goal is always to help our members and preserve the voices of black journalists."
NABJ Executive Director Maurice Foster says that he views this as an opportunity to turn an otherwise grim situation into an opportunity to better serve journalists of color.
"Given Gannett's commitment to women and minority organizations, I'm confident that together we can find a way to utilize whatever resources are available to get folks back on their feet," Foster said. "This commitment will be particularly valuable in the early stages of our new jobs initiatives like NABJ C.A.R.E.S."
In response to the layoffs at Gannett and other companies, NABJ recently established NABJ C.A.R.E.S. (Career Assistance, Recovery, and Employment Search). NABJ will offer members and non-members the opportunity to submit a profile that includes their professional history and information, from which we will do our best to match those who were recently laid-off with employment opportunities as they become available.
Convention Scholarship Available
Laid-off members can also apply for a hardship registration scholarship to NABJ's 36^th Annual Convention and Career Fair in Philadelphia, from Aug. 3-7, 2011. To apply, members must email their scholarship requests to firstname.lastname@example.org. The request must include your first and last name, contact information, and a description of the reason you are seeking support. Members who have already registered for the convention are not eligible. *The deadline to apply for scholarships is Friday, July 1.