At The Columbus Dispatch, we are building a culture of inclusion

Every day, we strive to write stories that inform, provide perspective, shine a light on your neighbors, and highlight inequality and wrongdoing.

Covering the news and writing about the people, places and issues important to you forces us to know the community and reflect the diversity of this large and growing metropolitan area.

At The Columbus Dispatch, we are building a culture of inclusion to help us achieve this. Inclusiveness influences the stories we tell, the sources we use, and how we reflect the diverse community that we are.

Several years ago, we made a commitment to diversify our newsroom and news direction to better reflect the community. I am proud to say that we continue to make progress on this front. Today we are releasing our third year of statistics showing our racial and gender breakdown. Other newspapers in the USA TODAY Network, made up of more than 200 local publications and USA TODAY, do the same. Information is a snapshot as of July 1, 2022.

Since July 2020, we have made notable progress in increasing the representation of Black, Asian and Hispanic journalists in our newsroom. We have also increased the percentage of women working in the newsroom.

As for newsroom management, currently 10% of our management staff are African American and 10% are Hispanic/Latino.

As this story, Corporate Diversity: Change Takes Time, indicates, inclusion must be deliberate, and I’m proud to say that we join other Franklin County business and nonprofit leaders in continuing to make intentional efforts to be more diverse and inclusive. Having a diverse newsroom where everyone’s voice can be heard allows for different perspectives and creates a culture where everyone can contribute to making The Dispatch the best reflection of our community.

To get a sense of some of the processes we have in place, every morning of the week we hold a ‘new ideas’ meeting where any member of staff can come up with a story they think we should write . In addition, once a month staff participate in a diversity audit of our coverage to highlight where we have excelled and where we need to improve. Finally, we are continuing our Mobile Newsroom initiative and in August staff will begin a stay in Linden, the latest neighborhood to be featured.

Herbie Johnson Sr., left, and Herbie Johnson Jr., right, pose for a portrait outside the H. Johnson Bar-BQ in the Driving Park neighborhood.  Johnson Sr. opened the restaurant 45 years ago with his wife, Sandra.  The neighborhood fixture closed during the pandemic.  Black entrepreneurs thrived in Driving Park from the 1960s to the early 2000s. The Dispatch charted 16 former businesses and five still hanging today for an article in March.

Here are some sample stories and editorials that show the breadth of our coverage:

We remain committed to providing the best coverage possible. If you are not a subscriber, I invite you to become one so that you can regularly read our best works.

Edwina Blackwell Clark is the editor of The Dispatch. Contact her at [email protected]

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