Over the past year, I have worked with five separate newsrooms in Pittsburgh on improving how they engage traditionally underserved communities. This effort is a continuation of my Inclusion Index work focused on improving, both internally and externally, how newsrooms cover communities that have typically been ignored or harmed. In total, through our work in Pittsburgh, we have helped nine separate newsrooms deal with DEIB-related challenges. But for this round, as we worked with the local news outlets on building lasting community connections, I considered what sustainability in community engagement work should look like.

Sustainability cannot simply focus on finances. If we want to do better journalism, sustainability must also focus on building community, inside and outside of the newsroom. Sustainability must also focus on the techniques we use to assess how we cover and engage our communities. This month, this newsletter will focus on how newsrooms can build sustainable efforts related to issues of diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging  and community engagement.

This week we’re focusing on a conversation with Andrea Wenzel, whose work focuses on creating more connected and equitable communities and newsrooms. In her book, “Antiracist Journalism: The Challenge of Creating Equitable News,” Wenzel recognizes the need to create accountability systems. Sustainable, institutional and systemic change can be achieved by implementing structures that facilitate holding those with more power accountable for listening to and addressing the needs and concerns of those with less, she argues.

In her book, Wenzel includes a discussion of the Inclusion Index, which is our comprehensive program to address issues of equity and inclusion inside and outside of the news organization. In an excerpt of our conversation below, Wenzel shares some findings detailed in Antiracist Journalism, her community journalism work and what it means to do good journalism.

— Letrell Crittenden, Director of Inclusion and Audience Growth

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