The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) has announced its plan to place media company CNN on a “special monitoring list” because the news organization has no black vice presidents, senior vice presidents or executive producers. CNN disputed the allegation but provided no name of any black in leadership positions.
CNN President Jeff Zucker refused to meet with the four-person delegation formed by NABJ to discuss the issue of diversity. Zucker said he cannot meet with the delegation because of a personal issue with NABJ Vice President-Digital Roland Martin related to the 2016 presidential town hall debate. Martin “displayed an unprecedented and egregious lack of journalistic ethics and integrity by leaking questions prior to the town hall.”
NABJ plan to conduct analysis and research on CNN’s equity, inclusion and diversity practices. It also calls for a civil rights audit of CNN to examine its hiring, promotion and compensation practices with black employees.
According to NABJ, it has already met or has scheduled meetings other media companies including NBC, Fox, CBS and ABC. In 2018, former CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien criticized the network and the whole cable news industry for lack of diversity in senior level positions.