Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Diversity Is Critical in Company Culture

Greg Howard, writing for Deadspin:

Last week, Vox Media’s SB Nation published “Who Is Daniel Holtzclaw?”, a 12,000-word profile of a 29-year-old former Oklahoma City police officer who this winter was tried for raping 13 black women while on duty; convicted on 18 of 36 charges of rape, sexual battery, forcible oral sodomy, and burglary; and sentenced to 263 years in prison. The story was reported and written by journalist Jeff Arnold and edited by Glenn Stout, head of the SB Nation Longform vertical. It was published at noon on a Wednesday, and the response was immediate and swift. Those who read it were furious with the story, which was so sympathetic that it comfortably qualified as apologia and read as an attempt to humanize a monster at the expense of his black, female victims. […]

Among other things, this story serves as an example of why diversity in the newsroom is so important. It isn’t because diversity is charity, or because giving opportunities to people other than white men is a Christlike thing to do, but because everyone has blind spots, and everyone fucks up. Bergeron was there, and the best-suited to work on the story alongside Arnold and Stout—not just because she’s the only person of color and the only woman among SBNation.com’s top layer of editors, but because she’s capable and experienced. Not only did Stout never enlist her to cover his and Arnold’s blindspots, though, but when she did so anyway, he disregarded her, and was empowered to do so.

The ongoing push for greater diversity in tech is absolutely critical, as it is in every other industry. There are a variety of voices, opinions, ideas, and thoughts that are held by people from widely-differing backgrounds that are being ignored and sidelined. Diversity isn’t a checkbox or a department, but a set of values. It’s something that cannot be added to a company; it must be earned. Adding these voices to an environment or a discussion is essential, but they must be listened to — this sounds obvious, but it clearly is not.