In an open letter to Jeff Bezos in her blog on the Huffington Post, Farai Chideya touches on one of the fundamental arguments for workplace diversity. In essence, she makes a compelling business case for diversity to Bezos, owner of Amazon and the recently acquired newspaper, the Washington Post.
According to the blog, journalists of color comprise about 24 percent of the newsroom at the Post but according to 2012 U.S. Census data, the District of Colombia is 50.1 percent black. Furthermore, the Asian- and Latino-American population in this area continues to grow. Chideya makes the point that staffing and editorial diversity is critical for good journalism. In her words she states, “Truth-telling is not a franchise owned by any one group, and the lack of diversity undermines our ability as reporters to get to the core of important stories.” But she expands on this point and shows that not only is diversity essential for good journalism but it’s essential for the Post’s bottom line. If the articles that the newspaper is turning out do not do justice in its coverage of racial, cultural and income diversity of its home region then the paper will start losing minority readers. In fact, according to the blog, it already has.
The business case for diversity at the Post that Chideya makes is one that can be extended to any corporation. Companies that have diversity programs in place can leverage their workforce to create strategic partnerships with customers and suppliers. When a company has a multicultural workforce that mirrors the international marketplace, strategic alliances and partnerships are easily formed. Ultimately, companies benefit from greater innovation and a better understanding of the global marketplace and can gain a competitive edge in today’s emerging markets.