Anti-Racism and Equity

Institutionalized racism and sexism have had a major impact on U.S. public policy, to the detriment of more than half of our country’s citizens. The news industry—in terms of staff diversity and the stories covered—is still not reflective of the nation’s demographics. According to a 2017 American Society of News Editors survey, minority journalists comprised only 16.6 percent of the workforce in U.S. newsrooms, while 39 percent of newsroom employees were women. A press that does not reflect the needs and concerns of all Americans falls short in its service to democracy.

The Shorenstein Center seeks to address these disparities through programs that focus on raising awareness of gender and race-related topics in the news, and research that calls out problematic media coverage.

Initiative for Institutional Anti-racism and Accountability

Working at the intersection of community, academia, and policy, the Initiative for Institutional Anti-Racism and Accountability (IARA) at the Shorenstein Center addresses intellectual and practical questions as they relate to anti-racism policy, practice, and institutional change.

The goal of this initiative is to promote anti-racism as a core value for organizations by critically evaluating structures and policies within institutions. We analyze the current field of anti-racism research, policy, and advocacy, particularly around institutions and the media. In the digital space, this involves research on how current algorithms and machine learning platforms work against or perpetuates structural racism. The initiative researches the implementation of anti-racism work within institutions, and specifically anti-racism training, to analyze effectiveness, promote best practices in the field, and develop accountability structures and metrics.

Our vision is to be a leader in institutional anti-racism research, policy, and advocacy, and propose structural change in institutions and media centered on anti-racism work in the public, private, non-profit sectors and digital space.

Health Equity and Race in Reporting

Journalist’s Resource receives funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for a research reporter focused on health equity and race, to elevate awareness and understanding of the issue in reporting.


Can Cities Save the Census? A Local Framework for Our Nation’s First Digital Count
April 1, 2019
By Kyla Fullenwider, Shorenstein Center 2018/19 Entrepreneurship Fellow, and Greg Fischer, Mayor of Louisville, Kentucky

Estimating the Effect of Asking About Citizenship on the U.S. Census
March 21, 2019
By Matthew A. Baum, Bryce Deitrich, Rebecca Goldstein, and Maya Sen

In the Shadow of Kerner: Fifty Years Later, Newsroom Diversity and Equity Stall
May 22, 2018
By Farai Chideya, Joan Shorenstein Fellow, Spring 2017, and Program Officer, Ford Foundation

Exploring the Role of Algorithms in Online Harmful Speech
August 10, 2017
By David Talbot and Jeff Fossett

Snake and Stranger: Media Coverage of Muslims and Refugee Policy
June 22, 2017
By Meighan Stone, Entrepreneurship Fellow, spring 2017, and former president of the Malala Fund

How Women Journalists Are Silenced in a Man’s World: The Double-Edged Sword of Reporting from Muslim Countries
June 19, 2017
Yeganeh Rezaian, Joan Shorenstein Fellow (fall 2016) and Iranian journalist, formerly of Bloomberg News and The National

Rape Culture in India: The Role of the English-Language Press
July 20, 2016
By Joanna Jolly with additional reporting by Uzra Khan