The Patriot Ledger is committed to creating a more inclusive, diverse and equitable workforce.
Aiming for transparency, Gannett Media, parent company of The Patriot Ledger, USA Today and approximately 250 newsrooms across the country committed in 2020 to publishing a diversity census each year, with the goal of having all its news teams reflect the demographics of the communities they serve by 2025.
Today, we are publishing our third annual newsroom diversity census. This internal census will keep us accountable and transparent as we strive as a company and as a newsroom to reach our diversity goals.
The American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau asks two separate questions, one about Hispanic origin and one about race, allowing individuals to self-select from multiple options. However, to compare with internal Gannett employee information that asks individuals to mark only one option, we used the following categories: Hispanic or Latino (for ACS, regardless of any other race selected), White (not Hispanic or Latino), Black or African American (not Hispanic or Latino), Asian (not Hispanic or Latino), American Indian or Alaska Native (not Hispanic or Latino), Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander (not Hispanic or Latino), or two or more races (not Hispanic or Latino). All information on racial identity is provided voluntarily by employees. Gannett also allows an individual to not disclose their race or ethnicity.
Aligned with those goals is to be more diligent in recruiting a diverse pool of candidates for all open positions. That includes making a concerted effort to cast a wider net seeking out diverse candidates when positions open.
There haven’t been many full-time positions to fill at The Patriot Ledger over the last few years, but three of the five news interns we hired during that time-period have been diverse candidates. We’re making progress, but there’s still a long way to go.
In addition to making our newsroom more diverse, we’re focused more than ever on making sure our news coverage reflects the diversity of our communities.
According to the most recent U.S. Census in 2020, Quincy saw a population increase of almost 10%, its third straight decade of growth. The city’s Asian population rose to nearly 31% of the city’s residents and its Black population rose to 5.7%. Both ethnic groups saw an increase of nearly 50% over 2010.
Meanwhile, Quincy’s white population dropped from 67.3% in 2010 to 55.1% in 2020. The city’s Hispanic or Latino population also rose to 5.1% of the total population.
Population also grew in Milton, Braintree and Weymouth. Braintree saw a marked increase in its Asian population, which went from about 7.6% of the town’s residents in 2010 to more than 17% in 2020. The share of white residents dropped in each of those three towns.
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In addition to taking a hard look at ourselves, The Patriot Ledger is taking a closer look at how diversity and underserved communities are being represented in our coverage.
One area you’ve probably noticed this happening is through a reduction in some of our crime coverage. We’ve spent the last year talking internally about our approach and taking action. The Patriot Ledger is committed to serving its communities with public safety and crime reporting that is fair, solution-based and focused on accountability. We will listen to, engage with and respond to those often underserved and statistically misrepresented in crime and courts coverage. And we are committed to balancing our crime reporting by highlighting the good news that builds and restores relationships and trust with all residents.
Many in the communities we cover are also taking the lead in providing a more accepting and diverse place for all residents to thrive.
One example is Weymouth Pride Project, which continues to grow. Launched last year, the group aims to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer residents and promote Weymouth as a welcoming community that celebrates diversity and inclusion.
“When you talk about making something visible, this is what you’re talking about,” Annemarie Reardon said. “Last year was really new, and we were pushing forward to find supporters and collaborators. This year is starting to bear fruit in terms of collaboration.”
Reardon said troup raised more than $5,000, which allowed them to do more than simply provide rainbow flags for residents to fly during Pride Month in June.
Also in Weymouth, a student-led summit to celebrate diversity, equity and inclusion was held at Weymouth High School at the end of April 2022.
Many communities, including Scituate, Plymouth, have hired positions in its school departments to promote diversity, equity and inclusion while others are looking to add those positions. The tide is beginning to turn on the South Shore.
The spring and summer of 2020 brought so much injustice to light with the police-involved killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Rayshard Brooks and attacks on Asians because of President Donald Trump’s racist rants about COVID-19.
It’s hard to say something good came out of all that tragedy, but many from all walks of life have stepped up since then to seek solutions and are looking to make a difference in bringing people together. Count us among them.
Gregory Mathis is executive editor of The Patriot Ledger. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.