The Marshall Project: Diversity and Inclusion, 2021
The Marshall Project’s mission to expose abuses in the criminal justice system requires an equally strong commitment to diversity in our staff, board and management team, along with the audiences we reach and how we deliver our journalism to them. These audiences are wide-ranging: people who are incarcerated and their families; those who work in all levels of criminal justice, including judges, attorneys, police officers and correctional officers; people who want to learn more about how the system works in practice; and communities who have often felt misrepresented or unheard.
To reach them, we are investing more resources in audience engagement and outreach to understand what issues and what forms of storytelling best answer the news needs of many groups of readers. And we are beginning to assemble local news teams in communities that have been starved of reporting and data resources that would enable citizens to hold officials accountable.
Our journalism, anchored in rigorous fact-finding and intensive reporting, continued last year to highlight instances of structural racism and discrimination. Some examples included investigations exposing how police across the country disproportionately use force against Black teenagers, and how the rising number of life-without-parole sentences affect Black people in greater numbers than any other group.
Here’s a brief update on our progress:
Our Progress in 2021
- We hired six staffers of color this year, out of 12 total hires. As we have done since 2020, every hiring process across our organization used the “Rooney rule” — all finalist pools included at least one person of color.
- We expanded our commitment to incarcerated audiences and their families, launching Inside Story, a video series specifically designed to reach people inside prisons and underserved communities outside. We also widened distribution of our News Inside print magazine to more than 670 prisons and jails in 43 states and Canada. We hired our new director of audience development to continue reaching out to readers that no other news outlet serves.
- In 2020, we joined the Dow Jones internship consortium, which works with historically Black colleges and universities and institutions that serve Hispanic students, to help us with screening and training for our summer internship program. We hired one of the interns from this past summer to a full-time position. We are continuing to participate in the consortium in 2022, with two interns selected.
- Our Board of Directors added three new members in 2021, two Black and one White. As of December 2021, 41% of the members of the Board self-identified as people of color.
- We continue to diversify our roster of freelance photography, video and illustrator assignments. In 2021, for example, we substantially increased the number of assignments to Hispanic or Latino freelancers.
- We continued our efforts to expand our staff’s training and professional development, with equity as a guiding principle. We set aside a budget that gives every staff member across the organization the ability to participate in conferences and training of their own choosing.
- The majority of senior staffers who managed people on both the newsroom and business sides last year have received management training. We anticipate extending that training to all managers this year.
The End-of-Year Numbers
The Marshall Project uses EEOC race/ethnicity and gender reporting categories, abbreviating some categories in the charts for space.
Race/Ethnicity: White (Not Hispanic or Latino); Black or African American (Not Hispanic or Latino); Hispanic or Latino; Native American or Alaska Native (Not Hispanic or Latino); Asian (Not Hispanic or Latino); and Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander (Not Hispanic or Latino); Two or More Races.
Gender: Nonbinary, Female, Male
The demographic survey of freelance artists had a 93% response rate.
The Marshall Project has no employees who identify as Native American, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.
The percentages in the charts have been rounded and may not add up to 100.