A flock of journalists who have left mainstream news outlets to jump full-time into new web-based startups are being criticized for contributing to the “white man’s” news tradition.
That all the high profile new Internet news startups are being launched by a bunch of white guys is undeniable. Ezra Klein, Matt Yglesias, Nate Silver, Glenn Greenwald, and a handful of others have left the world of mainstream journalism to start their own news agencies. And besides being liberals, the common denominator is an all-too-common whiteness–at least according to critics.
One of the early detractors of these new startups was Emily Bell at The Guardian who said that these new journalism efforts were hardly a “revolution if they’re filled with all these white men.”
“Remaking journalism in its own image,” Bell wrote, “only with better hair and tighter clothes, is not a revolution, or even an evolution. It is a repackaging of the status quo with a very nice clubhouse attached. A revolution calls for a regime change of more significant depth.”
Amanda Hess at Slate also criticized the new startups, saying it will only produce “more powerful white men.”
Hess said that the new efforts are being called “innovative” and “revolutionary,” but they are “staffed with a very traditional slate of mostly white and male journalists.”
Shani O. Hilton at Medium noted that the criticism might be well-founded. “The networks of white men in journalism function very well at bringing more white men into journalism,” she said.
Hilton also pointed out that these “revolutionary” news sites don’t seem too interested in staffing diversity at this time. “We see fairly clearly that these powerful white men are proceeding to staff up with more people who look like them,” she stated.