The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is taking a close look at CNN over concerns about a lack of black representation on the network.
In a statement from NABJ, the group calls for a “civil rights audit” of CNN.
The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is concerned about the lack of black representation within the ranks of CNN’s executive news managers and direct reports to CNN President Jeff Zucker. This concern, coupled with Zucker’s refusal to meet with a four-person NABJ delegation, has prompted NABJ to place CNN on a special media monitoring list.
A special team will perform further research and an analysis of CNN’s diversity, inclusion and equity practices, per the NABJ Board’s directive. The special team will also publicly report on identified deficiencies in hiring a diverse workforce in news decision-making capacities at CNN. NABJ is also calling for a civil rights audit that examines the company’s hiring, promotion and compensation practices involving black employees.
The NABJ statement continues, accusing the network of having no executive producers, vice presidents, or senior vice presidents who are black.
NABJ has placed @CNN on special monitoring list due to preliminary research revealing NO black representation within news leadership. We're calling for a civil rights audit, as CNN’s president refuses to meet with our delegation. Details: https://t.co/Yl7Q4vbwfJ.#MediaDiversity pic.twitter.com/grRwet9rhs
— NABJ Headquarters (@NABJ) March 5, 2019
The statement also targets Jeff Zucker directly, saying that he has “no black direct reports.”
The Wrap reports that CNN responded to the NABJ’s claims in a statement, saying that while representatives from the network would meet with NABJ, they will not meet with a group that includes vice president Roland Martin.
“For months, we have been working with NABJ to schedule a meeting because the relationship between CNN and NABJ is very important to us. As we have told them many times, we look forward to a thoughtful discussion about how both of our organizations can continue to work together,” the statement reads.
Unfortunately, the significant and reckless damage that Roland Martin did to CNN while partnering with us during a 2016 Democratic Town Hall has made any meeting that includes him untenable. Mr. Martin displayed an unprecedented and egregious lack of journalistic ethics and integrity by leaking questions prior to the town hall. As a result, we have told NABJ that CNN will not participate in any meeting that includes him. We have made it abundantly clear that we would be more than happy to sit down with the rest of their leadership team as soon as possible, and that offer still stands.
Indeed, Roland Martin was working for the network TV One when it hosted a town hall event with CNN featuring Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and was involved in the leaking of a question to Clinton’s campaign before the town hall.