By: Jordan Wertlieb, president, Hearst Television
September 24, 2020
At a time of profound change and evolution in our country, the work of the NAB Leadership Foundation is more important than ever.
Hearst Television is proud to provide support for the vital work of the NAB Leadership Foundation, including the Service to America Awards. These programs represent the very best in community service, honoring broadcasters who are fulfilling our important mission of serving the public interest. I am proud to add that this mission is a foundational value of Hearst Television.
This year, a critical piece to this mission is the important national discussion around social injustice and inequity. According to the most recently conducted RTDNA/Hofstra newsroom diversity study, the percentage of people of color in TV newsrooms reached record highs for the third year in a row. The study also reveals growth trends in the percentage of local TV news directors and general managers of color. And while broadcasters across the industry should be commended on the progress made, the same study shows the number of people of color in the local television workforce is 26.6% -- well under-representative of the diversity of the nation. Clearly, there is still much important work to be done
NAB Leadership Foundation, for its part, is committed to helping address this gap within our industry. A major focus of the organization is to aid television broadcasters in our efforts to reflect the changing face of our communities. Its signature program to help facilitate this change, Broadcast Leadership Training, celebrates its 20th year. I’m proud to add that Hearst Television has been a sponsor since its inception. The NAB Leadership Foundation has also launched a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Resource Center, “dedicated to helping media companies and industry professionals create and sustain a diverse and inclusive workplace.” I encourage all broadcasters to use this resource.
NAB and other industry organizations, including RTDNA, are positioned to play an important role in helping advance the conversation. These efforts need our full support as we work toward making our industry more reflective of the communities we serve.
Advancement of our own internal efforts is also critically important. In 2019, Hearst Television launched Project CommUNITY, a group-wide effort to investigate, chronicle and report local efforts that unite people within their communities. This year we broadened the scope of Project CommUNITY by layering on a multipronged diversity initiative that focuses on everyone’s role in finding solutions. It Starts with Me, as illustrated in this brief video clip from our Cincinnati station WLWT-TV, aligns closely with our company’s commitment to be better, to be more diverse and to lead change in our communities rather than simply to observe it.
Hearst Television is just one example of the efforts of many broadcasters who are committed to making a difference. As we all recognize, we are clearly living in an historic time – a time of profound change that will define our country and our communities for generations. What better time than now to assess our connection to our audience? What better time than now to be part of the solution—to lead conversation in our communities and, in doing so, better fulfill the tenets of our broadcasting licenses—namely, to serve the public interest, convenience and necessity?
I know you will join us in working with the NAB Leadership Foundation on these important initiatives as well as dedicate your own resources to help our industry fulfill an even greater leadership role during this important time in our nation’s history.
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