Racial disparities persist in Minnesota, and communities of color have experienced chronic under- and misrepresentation in the media. Given the powerful platform we have, MinnPost has the opportunity to be a counter to both of these factors. It’s not only a moral imperative for us, but also a way to make our journalism better and increase the impact of our work for the communities we serve and live in.
Our organizational mission is to produce independent journalism that serves as a trusted guide for Minnesotans exploring the critical issues, challenges and opportunities facing our state. We’re only able to deliver on that mission fully if we make our organization and the journalism we produce more equitable and inclusive of the diversity of people who make up Minnesota.
Grounded in our belief in transparency and accountability to the communities we serve, I’m sharing this update on MinnPost’s DEI efforts, which are led by a cross-organizational team of staff, including executive leadership. We are on a continuous journey in this work and recognize that we have a long way to go. We’ll share further updates in the future as well.
Breakdown of Our Staff
We believe that our staff should demographically reflect the state of Minnesota so that MinnPost itself can be a more accurate reflection of the people we aim to serve and represent. For transparency, we are sharing the demographic breakdown of our staff and will continue to do so as we strive to become more diverse.
This is a snapshot as of February 2023:
Recruitment and Hiring
In 2021, we adopted a policy that there must be at least one self-identified person of color in each round of a hiring search process. In 2022, we updated this policy to require that each hiring round have at least 20 percent qualified candidates of color. This is in line with the current demographic makeup of Minnesota. Applicants may voluntarily report this information and the details are withheld from those on the hiring team. These policies have already resulted in a MinnPost staff that has grown more racially diverse in the last two years.
In certain hiring situations, we’ve also asked candidates to volunteer their gender identity, recognizing where the demographics of our staff or our leadership team are not in line with those of Minnesota. The identifying information volunteered by candidates is not given with those on the hiring team.
Over the past several years, we’ve invested into posting jobs where they are more likely to be seen by candidates of color, but we’ve found that the most effective way to diversify our pool of prospective employees has been through one-on-one outreach and network building. In the year ahead, we will increase the capacity of our staff, particularly those in management positions, to build those networks year-round.
We are also focused on providing more opportunities for early-career journalists, through fellowships and internships, which we think is crucial to grow a large, diverse talent pool for MinnPost’s staff and the field of journalism more broadly.
In 2022, MinnPost offered all staff a guarantee of at least $100 in professional development, along with the ability to request additional funds to further their growth. This allowed individuals to pursue opportunities to make their specific work more equitable and inclusive. These funds can also be used by LGBTQ journalists and journalists of color on our staff to join affinity groups where they can receive more support and networking opportunities.
In the year ahead, we’re continuing to make these funds available for staff as well as finding opportunities for groups or the full staff to learn together. Additionally, we’re charging supervisors to take more proactive and intentional roles in identifying professional development opportunities for their direct reports and supporting everyone at MinnPost in their career growth.
Starting in 2021, MinnPost has conducted an annual workplace climate survey to get a better understanding of where we are as an organization and to pinpoint areas of focus. The results help guide priorities for the DEI and leadership teams and add accountability to improving MinnPost as a workplace. We will conduct the same survey annually to measure our progress and provide our team the ability to give anonymous feedback on our staff culture.
Representation in our Journalism
We believe that our staff, as well as the voices our journalists choose to highlight in their articles, should demographically reflect our communities. This is reflected in our new strategic plan, which calls for including the voices of Minnesotans from marginalized backgrounds, especially communities of color, more in our reporting. In addition to explaining policy debates and the political moves of those in power, MinnPost is committed to including the voices and experiences of those affected by policies in our reporting.
We’ve worked on developing a tool to ask anyone quoted in our reporting to share some demographic information. In 2023, we’ve implemented this tool to track our progress toward our goal of reflecting Minnesota in our coverage and holding ourselves accountable toward this goal.
Another key MinnPost area to hear from diverse Minnesotans is our Community Voices section, featuring opinions on issues and topics shaping public debate. We haven’t historically paid contributors for these op-eds, but in 2023, we’re going to pilot paid stipends to individuals to provide more equity and recognize the labor it takes to share one’s lived experience to MinnPost’s audience. We will strongly encourage participation from individuals of color and Indigenous backgrounds. Those in public office or in positions where they’re paid to advocate for their viewpoint won’t be eligible for a stipend.
Board of Directors
In 2021, MinnPost’s board of directors converted its ad hoc diversity, equity and inclusion committee to a standing committee. This committee serves as a focal point for DEI-focused activities and accountability across all board committees and the full board.
One of the initial actions of this new committee was to adopt a pledge toward diversity, equity and inclusion for the organization:
MinnPost will assure that the diverse experiences and voices of all people of Minnesota and the Native Nations who share that geography are represented and heard in our board, our staff, and in the journalism we produce. The MinnPost board of directors supports our staff’s commitment to equitable journalism and will work to increase diversity, equity and inclusion in our workplace. The board’s commitment does not signify a moment, but, rather, a journey of reflection and challenging conversations grounded in values of anti-racism and equitable practices. It is only by recognizing and addressing past and ongoing injustices that we are able to properly fulfill our mission to our stakeholders, members and readers.
Each committee of the board is working toward always having at least one DEI-related agenda item to consider in their meetings so they may take action on their work through an inclusive lens. In 2022, the DEI committee conducted a climate survey and one-on-one interviews with all board members to surface culture issues and identify workshop and learning priorities that the full board will pursue in the year ahead. The finance committee prompted a review of MinnPost’s significant vendors and their DEI policies. The events & development committee set priorities for the racial and gender diversity of the lineup of MinnPost Festival.
The governance committee set a recruitment goal that, moving forward, at least one-third of new board members will be people of color or Indigenous. As a measure of public accountability, we will also include the board’s demographics in this update. As of the beginning of 2023, those demographics were as follows: