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Following Layoffs, NYT Culture Section Has Not A Single Black Reporter Or Editor

Published by Huffington Post on Fri, 19 Dec 2014

Following this week's layoffs at The New York Times there is not a single black reporter or editor on staff at the newspaper's culture section, Journal-isms reported Wednesday. Felicia R. Lee, previously the only black reporter at the section, has been laid off, and Fletcher Roberts, the paper's pop music editor, took a buyout. According Journal-isms, other journalists of color are also being affected by the recent cuts. Metro reporter Kia Gregory has been laid off and senior food editor Maria Newman is accepting a buyout. The news comes only a few months after The Times drew criticism for a lack of diversity in its newsroom. In September, television critic Alessandra Stanley penned a review of Shonda Rhimes' legal drama "How To Get Away with Murder," which some readers felt reinforced pernicious racial stereotypes about black women. In an op-ed about the controversy, executive editor Dean Baquet told public editor Margaret Sullivan that he "sees a problem with diversity in some areas of the newsroom, including among the 20 cultural critics, where there are only two persons of color -- the chief book critic, Michiko Kakutani, and a TV critic, Mike Hale -- and no black critics." 'I would criticize us for that,' Baquet continued. 'I would love to diversify that area.'Though reporters of color are indeed leaving the paper, a spokesperson for The New York Times said Friday in an email to The Huffington Post that it is too early to tell how the departures will affect specific sections. "In the wake of our staff reductions, heading into the New Year we will undertake the process of rebalancing the newsroom talent. It's too soon to know what the diversity makeup will look like in any one department," the email read. "A diverse newsroom remains a priority for us."
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