FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PABJ Renews Call for New Management at Philadelphia Magazine
Requests Meeting with PM Management
PHILADELPHIA, PA (October 13, 2015) On behalf of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (PABJ), sends thanks Philadelphia Magazine (PM) Editor Tom McGrath for his response to our October 2 statement. We are encouraged that PM has considered our resignation request and taken seriously our concerns, as well as those of the community.
However, PM’s latest pledge to “do better” when it comes to diversity appears disingenuous. While PM’s recently created plans to diversify and train the publication’s editorial staff on diversity issues are a good first step, more needs to be done.
For example, pledging to hire one person of color to sit on the editorial board reeks of tokenism and, in many cases, leads to low retention of diverse candidates. Second, a process for streamlining job postings and getting the word out to organizations with diverse constituents should have been part of the plan from the start. PABJ shares job opportunities with our members. Will we be on the list of organizations alerted to new opportunities? Third, with regard to content, the plan states PM “recognizes the value and importance of engaging diverse populations of our region in our editorial coverage.” What does this mean? Will more people of color get the opportunity to write editorials? Or will those who write the editorials simply engage more with communities of color?
Finally, PABJ commends PM on its plan to set up a diversity committee, but this measure will not be effective unless diverse people are included. Who will sit on this committee? Will it include representatives from the community? Will PABJ get a seat?
Another important question is the process for ensuring that the plan is implemented in a timely manner, and that the results are relayed to PABJ and the community.
Because of PM’s past pronouncements that it will be more sensitive fell flat, we have little confidence this plan is anything more than an attempt to alleviate community pressure.
While we would like to see this plan implemented, we nevertheless respectfully renew our call for new leadership at PM. A promise to do better is not enough; PABJ needs to see action and PABJ believes action will only come when the community demands it.