Los Angeles Times executive editor Norman Pearlstine vowed he would not resign amid growing criticism by current and former staff members over a lack of diversity in his newsroom.
“I certainly don’t think that any of the discussions we’ve had today would make me think I should. I’m sorry, I didn’t hear the question that way, but if that’s what people are asking, I’m not resigning,” Pearlstine said in a recording during a video town hall obtained by TheWrap on Wednesday.
Pearlstine's comments come as the Black Caucus of the paper’s guild sent a letter to top executives and editors at the publication demanding a more diverse newsroom on Tuesday.
"The nation’s reckoning over race has put a much-needed spotlight on inequities at The Times. We are in a crisis and it is not new. Those of us who have been here since the tumult of 1992 say history is repeating itself," the Black Caucus wrote.
"We don’t have enough Black journalists — or, more broadly, journalists of color — to cover our overwhelmingly diverse city, state and nation with appropriate insight and sensitivity. And most of us who do work here are often ignored, marginalized, under-valued and left to drift along career paths that leave little opportunity for advancement. Meanwhile, we’re hearing the same empty promises and seeing the same foot-dragging from management," the letter continues.
"We cannot allow this to continue. This is as much a moral imperative, as a financial one. The Times will not survive without winning over subscribers who are not white, and the only way to do that is to have a diverse and inclusive workforce," it adds.
At one point in the the video call, Pearlstine and other senior editors apologized for not doing a better job at hiring and retaining minority staff members.
“I have realized, just as I’ve come to understand the difference between being not racist and anti-racist, that it’s, you know, I’ve always — I can’t think of a time that anyone on staff sought a meeting with me that I didn’t take, but that’s not sufficient to deal with the issues you’re talking about. What really has to be required is to be far more proactive than I was. It wasn’t that I was doing nothing, but that I wasn’t being proactive enough,” Pearlstine said, per TheWrap.
The Los Angeles Times launched in 1881 and has California's largest subscription base.