On December 13, 2021, our research team met with the “Diversity management as innovation in journalism” Advisory Board. The goal of the meeting was to introduce the project’s team and discuss the theoretical and methodological foundations for our study. 

Following a comprehensive literature review and mapping the industry’s D&I practices and initiatives in Poland, Sweden and the UK (which we focused on between September 2021–November 2021), we updated and critically reviewed the project’s methodology and theoretical foundations. Following the creation of our Advisory Board, we organized a workshop to present these updates to the team. The meeting was organised on December 13, 2021, at the Faculty of Journalism, Information and Book Studies, the University of Warsaw and, due to the pandemic restrictions, was held in a hybrid way.

The meeting started with introducing the research team and the Advisory Board members alongside a presentation of the study’s foundations by Greta Gober – the project’s PI. In her 20-minutes provocation, Greta spoke about the urgency of approaching newsrooms’ diversity as innovation and about the existing knowledge gap in knowledge and practices which approach diversity management from the business and/or value-based perspective. The idea of exploring diversity management as polyphony opened the floor for feedback and discussions.  

Overall, we agreed that researching newsroom diversity is a process that goes beyond media inclusive HR policies or media content addressing people from historically underrepresented communities. One of the experts – professor Karen Donders from the Flemish public service media VRT – stressed that managing diversity is a blend of instrumental and normative views reflected in media policies, strategies and production. To this end, polyphony – the outcome of a representative and inclusive media organisation requires, above all, inclusive storylines, diversity leadership and supportive organisational culture (see Figure 1). The workshop helped the team solidify a clear direction on what to focus on in our in-depth studies of Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom.  

We thank Margaret Amaka Ohia-Nowak (The Diversity Hub, Poland), Christian Christensen (Stockholm University, Sweden), Sandra Suber (Axel Springer SE, Germany) and Karen Donders (VRT, Belgium) for their valuable comments on how to move our project forward. Findings presented during the methodological workshop and our discussions will serve as important references for our first field trip which is starting in Poland in January 2022.

Figure 1. Diversity as Polyphony, drawing by Karen Donders (2021) based on the concept note discussed during the workshop.