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NBCUniversal aims for half of news employees to be women, people of color

NBCUniversal aims for half of news employees to be women, people of color
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NBCUniversal is aiming for 50 percent of its news workforce to be women and 50 percent to be people of color, according to a memo released Tuesday.

Cesar Conde, the chairman of the NBCUniversal News Group, sent the memo to employees outlining the “Fifty Percent Challenge Initiative,” a plan to form a more diverse news organization. The network's news division includes NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC and currently has about 3,000 employees.

The chairman did not include a timeline for the change but said NBCUniversal will be taking feedback for the plan and on how the company should be held accountable over the next 100 days. After that time period, the company will review its progress and decide how to track future progress. 

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“We want to increase diversity and inclusion both in front of and behind the camera, and earn the trust of every community in America that relies on us for exceptional journalism,” Conde said in a video sent to staff obtained by The Hill. 

“We realize that this is an ambitious objective and it will of course take time to do in a proper way,” he added. “We understand this is a challenging time to start this effort but there are always reasons to say, ‘Not now.’ To get there tomorrow, we have to start today.”

The initiative comes as news organizations are reviewing their diversity and coverage of the Black community amid a national dialogue on racial equality following widespread protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.

“Our introspection and dialogue must continue, but on a parallel path we will lay out a plan for an even more inclusive workplace,” Conde said in the memo. “And we will start executing now.”

Conde is the first Latino to run a major English language network TV news division, according to The Los Angeles Times.

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The news organization’s plan will focus on five areas: investment and recruitment, content, education and development, partnerships, and measurement. Conde said NBCUniversal will host meetings across the organization “over the next week or so” to answer questions and take feedback.

NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC’s workforce is made up of 27 percent people of color, which Conde said is “better than most in our industry – but it is not good enough.” Women make up almost 50 percent of the workforce in the news division, the LA Times reported.

Updated on July 8 at 10:08 a.m.