The Diversity Management as Innovation in Journalism Project (2021-2023) aims to find and study cases of the occurrence of innovative approaches to diversity management in journalism, launched by news organizations with the objective of increasing newsrooms' diversity, including in talent management and programming.
Contemporary news organizations are undergoing constant and often rapid change, trying to find ways to support themselves, while staying relevant in increasingly heterogeneous societies. Innovation thus seems almost an innate characteristic of this industry yet, as pointed out by the European Federation of Journalists and the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, innovation is rarely talked about or even thought of outside of the technological context. Meanwhile, according to media leaders surveyed by Reuters Institute, level of staff diversity in the newsrooms remains among top three challenges faced by the news industry today (EFJ, 2020; Borchardt et al., 2019). Innovation is thus clearly needed also in diversity and talent management. The European Commission vice-president Věra Jourová similarly argues that while societies are changing at a rapid speed, progress in diversifying newsrooms is too slow and the Commission launched a ‘news initiative’ to support the challenges facing the news media industry (Brzozowski, 2020).
As initiatives aimed at diversifying newsrooms are receiving attention (and financial support) it is important to keep in mind that diversity and inclusion initiatives (D&I) and diversity management (DM), both as a field of study and a field of practice, have been around for more than twenty years, including in the media industry. Along with good practices (for examples see AGEMI), researchers and critical scholars have pointed to a number of unintended consequences and failed promises of diversity initiatives that end up reinforcing marginalization of those they intended to benefit. All the more, innovative approaches to diversity management in journalism are needed today.