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Diversifying online journalism is the next frontier

BuzzFeed Latino editor Adrian Carrasquillo addresses 2014 NAHJ conference-goers in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo courtesy of Adrian Carrasquillo)

BuzzFeed Latino editor Adrian Carrasquillo addresses 2014 NAHJ conference-goers in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo courtesy of Adrian Carrasquillo)

By Dennis Romero:

The lack of diversity in the online journalism world has often dodged criticism by minority journalism groups focused on traditional broadcast outlets and dead-tree media. But, to be sure, it is a serious issue that has been ignored for far too long.

We should be pleased that BuzzFeed, one of online journalism’s shining stars, has announced to the world that it is making the diversity of its workforce a priority.

The operation noted that its editorial staff is about 10 percent Latino, and it’s clear that this percentage is only going to increase.

BuzzFeed Latino editor Adrian Carrasquillo, who is based in New York, said this was not a flash-in-the-pan move to get some quick hits from America’s growing audience. His employer sees the writing on the wall: Latinos already comprise California’s largest ethnic group, and the United States could be a so-called majority-minority by 2050.

It’s a business decision, Carrasquillo said. Editor Ben Smith said the number of Latinos in BuzzFeed’s younger-leaning audience was huge. His publication needs to speak to its audience, or the effort is futile, he indicated.

At CCNMA, we hope news organizations like Yahoo News, Google News, the Daily Beast, TMZ and even trade publications like the Hollywood Reporter and Variety get the message and follow Buzzfeed’s lead.

It’s time to reflect your community — particularly if your operations are based in California and, more importantly, in Los Angeles, where half of your potential audience is Latino.

Dennis Romero is a CCNMA board member and news writer at LA Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @dennisjromero.

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