“The Wall Street Journal is one of many media organizations, including The New York Times, where staff members have questioned leadership.”

From a New York Times story by Marc Tracy and Ben Smith headlined “Wall Street Journal Staff Members Push for Big Changes in News Coverage”:

Staff members of The Wall Street Journal have been pressing newsroom leaders to make fundamental changes in how the newspaper covers race, policing, and its primary focus, the business world, along with other matters.

In a June 23 letter to the editor in chief, Matt Murray, a group identifying itself only as “members of the WSJ newsroom” said the paper must “encourage more muscular reporting about race and social inequities,” and laid out detailed proposals for revising its news coverage.

“In part because WSJ’s coverage has focused historically on industries and leadership ranks dominated by white men, many of our newsroom practices are inadequate for the present moment,” the letter said.

Among its proposals: Mr. Murray should appoint journalists to cover “race, ethnicity and inequality”; name two standards editors specializing in diversity; conduct a study of the race, ethnicity and gender breakdown of the subjects of The Journal’s “most prominent and resource-intensive stories”; and bring more diversity to the newsroom and leadership positions.

Speaking more broadly, the letter questioned whether The Journal put too much stock in business leaders and government officials.

“Reporters frequently meet resistance when trying to reflect the accounts and voices of workers, residents or customers, with some editors voicing heightened skepticism of those sources’ credibility compared with executives, government officials or other entities,” the letter said. “We should apply the same healthy skepticism toward everyone we cover.”

On Friday, Kamilah M. Thomas, chief people officer with Dow Jones, the publisher of The Journal, sent an internal email announcing the recent creation of a new position of senior vice president of inclusion and people management as well as other initiatives that, she said, are part of “a comprehensive review of diversity, equity and inclusion across our business.”

The Journal is one of many media organizations, including The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Los Angeles Times and Condé Nast, where staff members have questioned leadership at a time of widespread protests against racism and police brutality prompted by the killing in May of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis who died after a white police officer pressed a knee to his neck.

Confrontations between staff members and newsroom leaders have been rare at the 131-year-old publication, which became part of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire in 2007. It has one of the country’s largest newsrooms, employing about 1,300. . . .

One of the proposals in the June 23 letter concerned changes to The Journal’s stylebook. “Review the terminology used across WSJ content, including editorial, to refer to various identity groups and compare with latest industry standards,” it suggested.

The following week, The Journal announced that it would capitalize “Black” when referring to members of the African diaspora. Several other news organizations have made the same decision in recent weeks, including The Associated Press and The Times.

On Thursday, Mr. Murray announced in an email to the staff that Brent W. Jones, an associate managing editor, who is Black, had been promoted to the top echelon of newsroom leadership to fill a newly created role, editor of culture, training and outreach. . . .

Marc Tracy covers print and digital media. He previously covered college sports. @marcatracy

Ben Smith is the media columnist. He joined The Times in 2020 after eight years as founding editor in chief of BuzzFeed News. Before that, he covered politics for Politico, The New York Daily News, The New York Observer and The New York Sun. Email: [email protected] @benyt

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