The New York Times Guild announced Friday that it met with leadership at the newspaper to cultivate “a more diverse and equitable” workplace, and one suggestion is to implement pre-publication “sensitivity reads.”
The union announced multiple suggestions it made during a meeting earlier in July. The guild wrote that it believes the NYT needs “a top-to-bottom resetting of priorities to improve the working conditions of our colleagues of color.”
“Get it right from the beginning: Sensitivity reads should happen at the beginning of the publication process, with compensation for those who do them,” reads one of the tweets laying out suggestions given.
Get it right from the beginning: sensitivity reads should happen at the beginning of the publication process, with compensation for those who do them. (6/8)
— NYTimesGuild (@NYTimesGuild) July 31, 2020
This NYT union suggestion comes after a “civil war” at the company broke out on social media in June. The public dispute was over an op-ed written by Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who suggested the U.S. military should possibly be deployed as backup in an effort to squash violent protests following George Floyd’s death.
Numerous employees claimed that the op-ed put black co-workers “in danger.” Former NYT opinion writer and editor Bari Weiss left the newspaper, citing the “civil war” and some co-workers unwillingness to accept differing opinions as reasons. (RELATED: ‘Intellectual Curiosity … Is Now A Liability’: Bari Weiss Writes Scathing Resignation Letter From The NYT Amid Its Woke ‘Civil War’)
Former NYT editorial page editor James Bennet also resigned after the Cotton debacle. The newspaper apologized for publishing the op-ed, writing that “a rushed editorial process” resulted in publishing a piece “that did not meet our standards.”
Other changes to the company the NYT union pushed for included setting “a goal to have its workforce demographics reflect the makeup of New York City—24% Black and over 50% people of color—by 2025.” It also stated that “50% of candidates at each stage of each hiring process should be POC.”