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.

E&P: How to Get More Women and Minorities into Executive Roles

Editor & Publisher has a piece by Nu Yang reminding us that diversity should still be a goal for every newsroom. White men still occupy a majority of the top newspaper positions. Yang interviewed two newsies at opposite ends of the spectrum to get some ideas about how to keep working to balance the playing field so that more women and minorities get a shot at leading. “It may help to create relationships with organizations that provide support for women and minorities in journalism as avenues for awarding internships or jobs, or to reach out to individual university programs,” says 21-year-old college newspaper editor Kacey Gardner. Joseph H. Zerbey IV, president and general manager of the Toledo Blade at 70 years old, is a little more blunt: “First of all, stop making excuses. Over the last 40 or so years I have heard them all: ‘Well, there just aren’t enough of them qualified for that job.’ ‘As soon as I hire a female, they take maternity leave.’ ‘They just aren’t the fit the team needs.’ ‘There aren’t enough minorities down in the ranks to bring along.’ … They are out there. You have to work at it to find the right person, with the right fit, with the credentials and the work ethic to make it work. It is not an easy task.” Read their full responses here.