MSNBC’s Chris Hayes maintains diversity on show

MSNBC host Chris Hayes has figured out a way to increase diversity on his show: he makes sure that not all of his guests are white men. Columbia Journalism Review’s Ann Friedman interviewed Hayes after reading a Media Matters chart that showed that 57 percent of Hayes’ guests are not white men.

“We just would look at the board and say, ‘We already have too many white men. We can’t have more.’ Really that was it,” Hayes said. “Always, constantly just counting. Monitoring the diversity of the guests along gender lines, and along race and ethnicity lines. A general rule is if there are four people sitting at table, only two of them can be white men.”

They also make up for shows when they can’t book fewer than three white men. Hayes also said that the increased diversity of the guests inevitably increases the diversity of the subject matter discussed on the show, pushing him further away from the television news status quo.

While diversity remains a passive-aggressive issue with the media, Hayes’ primetime show keeps it simple by realizing there’s no difficult secret to avoiding a monopoly of white dudes.

Freelancing: To pay or not to pay

There's light at the end of the tunnel. (RambergMediaImages/Flickr Creative Commons)

There’s light at the end of the tunnel. (RambergMediaImages/Flickr Creative Commons)

The topic of paid and unpaid freelance writing continues to develop Thursday. While someone accused Nate Thayer of plagiarizing the North Korea piece he wrote that set this all off, Ann Friedman at the Columbia Journalism Review broke down her freelancing philosophy.

Friedman pays her bills with a number of freelancing gigs, including two columns, and has created a paradigm that allows her to do unpaid and low-pay work that may benefit her in other ways. She separates her approach to doing free/low-pay work into four categories: to establish experience; because she was writing it anyway; to raise her profile; and to be part of a project she loves.

Unpaid work, she says, is a great way for some writers to make headway. It can even lead to some happy accidents, as it did for her when she started publishing some “silly, hand-drawn charts” for free, and it led to her getting a job to draw for a monthly magazine.

And then there’s Paul Carr, arguing for a sort of return to the high-flying days of Big Journali$m, when (apparently) a reporter could expense the purchase of a Mustang on assignment. Read the comments on this one — not everyone agrees with him — but it’s quite a defense of the value of in-depth, well-reported, and expensive stories.

Print supplements enrich online publications

Newspapers! (Wikimedia Commons: SusanLesch)

Newspapers! (Wikimedia Commons: SusanLesch)

Ann Friedman at Columbia Journalism Review urges us to turn all death-of-print conversations into ones about process, since, she says, print is not dead but has just lost its primacy. She points to a recent piece in Flavorwire that praises “the rise of the artisanal magazine,” a sort of ode to the ability of certain publishers to keep an audience with print mags that have an aesthetic quality to them.

Friedman claims that web-only publications hold readers less strongly than those that manage to blend print and digital content. The teen magazine Rookie, for example, released a print collector’s item component to diehard readers.

Perhaps this conclusion will transcend the nostalgia for print and the simpleton takedowns of online journalism from the less-informed.