A cross section of Black journalists has expressed concern following Dana Canedy’s departure from the New York news agency, New York Times.
It is obvious that the absence of one of the pillars of the New York Times’ newsroom diversity staffs will actually be a big vacuum to fill. Among those who have expressed concerns about Dana Canedy’s exit are Black journalists. Canedy was the mouthpiece of the African-Americans at the news agency. She explained her leaving the New York news by the wish to work on a movie which is to be created out of her written memoir. Her move immediately necessitated a meeting of about twelve African-American Times journalists whose core interest was the diversity of the news agency. Daney’s departure came barely 2 months after Daniel Simpson, the company’s senior manager for diversity and campus programs resigned. Though the news just came in, we managed to bring you bring you in-depth information about it by the following source:
“Lack of sincerity on diversity was a key factor in me leaving,” Simpson told Journal-isms by telephone Friday. Diversity was added to his responsibilities after Dancy left. He departed in August. “Dana handled the newsroom diversity issues,” Simpson said by email. “Some of what I did was overseeing the diversity affinity networks, which included both sides [business and news].”
Journal-isms asked Baquet whether anyone in the newsroom would fill Canedy’s role and noted that despite impressive hires from outside the Times, some journalists of color feared that progress would be stalled on removing a perceived glass ceiling for those who are already there.
“First off, I will miss Dana tremendously, though she will be writing of course,” Baquet replied. “She has been an important adviser to me, and a friend.
“As I hope people can tell from the recent hiring, I care deeply about building a diverse newsroom. We can’t cover the world unless we look like the world.”
“We have some plans in the works for changing how we hire journalists. I’d prefer not to get into them now. But rest assured that diversity is important to me and to The Times. We won’t slip.”
Journal-isms asked Shultz how she planned to build on the gains made by Canedy and Simpson, whether there were specific plans, especially in relation to diversity, and how she planned to follow up on an April warning to employees by CEO Mark Thompson that “supervisors who fail to meet upper management’s requirements in recruiting and hiring minority candidates or who fail to seek out minority candidates for promotions face some stern consequences: They’ll be either encouraged to leave or be fired,” in the words of the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple, who broke the story.
Shultz replied, “As you may know, I’m relatively new here, but one of my most immediate priorities is to work to strengthen our existing programs around diversity and develop new ones. It’s critical to our business. There is a lot of great work already underway and we’re very lucky that Dana will continue to consult with us.”
Canedy has worked at the Times since 1996 as reporter, assistant national editor and senior editor. In October 2006, her fiancé, Army First Sergeant Charles King, was killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq. In 2008, she completed “A Journal for Jordan,” her fiancé’s 200-page journal for his seven-month-old son in case he did not make it home from the war in Iraq. (scroll down)
“She is working with Denzel Washington and his producing partner, Todd Black of Escape Artists Productions, on the movie adaptation of her bestselling memoir, ‘A Journal for Jordan,‘” Janet Elder, a deputy executive editor, wrote staff members.
“She also has two non-fiction books in the works and then plans to write a novel. One of the books is based on the popular Times photo essay ‘Unpublished Black History,’ which documented recent black history using unpublished NYT photos. This was a project conceived by Dana. She is also writing a book with the working title ‘The New Civil Rights Movement.’ ”
Elder’s memo called Canedy a “stalwart champion of newsroom personnel” and cited “a storied career of participating in some of our most ambitious journalism —- most notably our 1999 series on race which won a Pulitzer Prize — as well as shaping our journalism through the cultivation of great talent — Yamiche Alcindor, Frenchie Robles and Nikole Hannah-Jones, to name a few.
“In her most recent role in News Administration Dana has been a trusted confidante for countless people both in our newsroom and throughout the company. Dana’s kindness, courage, compassion and devotion to Times’ values have made her an invaluable partner to the newsroom leadership. As Dean said: ‘Dana has been a wise and thoughtful advisor to me and the rest of the masthead on some of the most complex personnel issues facing our newsroom.’
“Dana has led our Student Journalism Institute, our summer internship program and been a leader in the company’s College Scholarship Program. She has not only shaped our intermediate journalist recruits, but she has also shaped a generation of managers through the newsroom management training program.
“Dean and Mark have asked Dana to continue to work with The Times on a project basis as they develop and strengthen existing programs and build out new ones. Dana will be an ongoing consultant to Mark on company-wide diversity issues.
“As Mark noted, ‘I’m very grateful that we will continue to be able to tap into Dana’s considerable expertise in an area that is critical to our business, the recruitment and retention of diverse talent.’ And lest Dana think we are letting her get away from the creation of our journalism, [National Editor] Marc Lacey has asked Dana to continue to add her voice to our national coverage of race, military families and other areas. . . .”
One black journalist told Journal-isms privately that “people are devastated” that Canedy is leaving and that “she speaks for the people of color here.”
The journalist cited unfinished business regarding institutional racism and pointed to recent departures of such black journalists as Simone Bridges Oliver, a growth strategy editor for lifestyle news who went to Allure magazine as digital director, and Marcus Mabry, editor at large who left the Times a year ago first for Twitter, and then for CNN, where he became director, mobile and off platform last month.
The institutional issues go beyond the newsroom. Simpson cited the lack of African Americans on the Times Co. board and, except for Baquet, in top management. “If diversity is talked about at the top and all the diversity sits at the bottom of the company, that’s a huge disconnect,” he said by telephone.
In April, Ernestine Grant, 62, and Marjorie Walker, 61, black women who work in the Times’ advertising department, filed a multimillion-dollar class action lawsuit alleging that Thompson introduced a culture of “deplorable discrimination” based on age, race and gender at the newspaper,” Rupert Neate reported then for the Guardian. Read more.
It isn’t a surprise the New York news company keeps losing its good and talented employees. Black journalists who worked at the Times got their chances to be employed only because the New York Times needed to avoid complaints about the lack of diversity, though in didn’t save the African-American employees from institutional racism and discrimination plaguing the news resource. American press would like to keep silent when it comes to the issues of race and the daring journalists being brave enough to raise their voices are not welcome.