The Philadelphia Inquirer has taken initial steps to make its journalism, community engagement, and newsroom culture more inclusive and representative of the Philadelphia region’s diverse communities, according to a new report published by Temple University’s Klein College for Media and Communication.
The report, written six months after their comprehensive audit of The Inquirer’s news coverage, offered an update on a series of recommendations made by the researchers in February 2021. The recommendations focused on inclusive sourcing and editing practices, community engagement and accountability, and The Inquirer’s internal newsroom culture.
Several new processes and procedures have been enacted and have seen promising preliminary results, though others remain to be implemented, the report said.
“The process of building trust in institutions that historically have been infused with structural racism, distrust, and trauma takes time, and may not be linear,” the report said. “Indeed, we can see this from The Inquirer’s own history, where gains from DEI initiatives in the 1980s and 1990s were not necessarily maintained or built upon. Developing trust requires consistent commitment to the work of pursuing antiracism — and diligence to avoid elements of this multifaceted work from falling through the cracks.”
The content audit was supported with funding from The Lenfest Institute, The Inquirer’s non-controlling, non-profit parent organization, and the Independence Public Media Foundation. The Lenfest Local Lab @ The Inquirer, a product and user design innovation group embedded in The Inquirer’s product team, created a content mapping tool to help with the auditing process.
The Lenfest Institute is committed to championing and facilitating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive news and information ecosystem in Philadelphia. Diversity and representation are critical components of positive business outcomes for news publishers, and the Institute will continue to support our partners in this essential work.