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Richard Prince has more details on which staffers recently took buyouts at the Washington Post. Prince confirmed that seven of the 26 Guild-covered employees who took the buyouts were nonwhite, including Theola Labbé-DeBose, Michael D. Bolden, Shauné Hayes, Joanna Hernandez, Stephen A. Crockett Jr., Kerry Flagg, Mark Gail, and Tony P. Knott. That’s a little more than 1 in 4 confirmed—the actual number of nonwhite staffers leaving the Post could be higher.
This matters for a few reasons. The American Society of Newspaper Editors, which has been tracking race in the newsroom for decades, has noted that the number of minority staffers took a nosedive with recession cutbacks, and disproportionately so. This month, ASNE noted that while the shrinkage has “stabilized,” people of color are leaving the newsroom at more than double the average rate. “Total newsroom employment at daily newspapers declined by 2.4 percent in 2011, while the loss in minority newsroom positions was 5.7 percent,” reads a release from the group.
It seems like staffers taking the buyouts aren’t going to other newsrooms, either, which we don’t necessarily blame them for. It’s a rough time to be a journalist. But losing those perspectives in the newsroom is dangerous if the Post doesn’t consider diversity in its new hires.
We’ve reached out to the Post for comment and will update if we hear back.