BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith on Wednesday released the media company’s diversity numbers. Like Silicon Valley tech giants that have recently released their own diversity reports, the numbers are very much a work in progress.
As Co.Exist reported, the company’s tech team is split 60% male, 40% female. It’s clear companies like PowerToFly, which vets and matches women with tech jobs, have helped BuzzFeed reduce its gender gap. Looking at the editorial department, the number is more balanced: 52% female and 48% male, and those numbers swap places when looking at the company as a whole.
Hard to say if this is all that impressive, however, since news outlets don’t usually make this information public. And unlike all those tech companies, BuzzFeed hasn’t provided any data on its leadership positions.
While BuzzFeed claims a balanced gender ratio, the ethnic makeup of its editorial staff is another story: 73% of its employees are white (that number inches up 2 percentage points when looking at the company overall). Smith pointed out that coveted beats, like investigative reporting, tend to largely attract white and male applicants. Could this disparity also be attributed to BuzzFeed‘s status as a media startup? We’ll reserve our judgment until we hear from more newsrooms.
Smith cited “ethical imperative” and “reaching more readers” as reasons for the company’s diversity push–though we’re not sure the latter is of great concern to a traffic monger like BuzzFeed. He gave the following definition of diversity as a hiring guide for editors:
BuzzFeed’s working definition of diversity is this: Enough people of a particular group that no one person has to represent the supposed viewpoint of their group — whether ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, gender identity, socioeconomic background, or disability. And if the group is a small one we should never expect one person to be the “diverse” reporter or writer, or to speak for anyone other than themselves.