Leadership Memphis

Leadership Memphis Puts Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Center Stage at 12th Annual Multicultural Breakfast

More than 400 community leaders and executives attended the Leadership Memphis 12th Annual Multicultural Breakfast Friday, November 1 at the Holiday Inn on the University of Memphis campus.

FedEx and International Paper partnered with Leadership Memphis to present “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Behind the Headlines,” an engaging panel discussion about how modern newsrooms are changing their culture to reflect the communities they cover.

“To have representatives on the panel from some of the pillars of Memphis media tells you just how important this topic is,” said David Williams, Leadership Memphis President/CEO. “In a lot of ways, media should be leading the discussion on not just why, but also how to make our communities more diverse, equitable and inclusive. And this was their chance to do just that.”

Williams added, “Newsrooms determine what we watch, hear and read as news consumers. It was reassuring to have panelists encouraging those in the audience to be participants in the process and hold journalists and the media accountable for making sure the news they take in not only reflects the diverse, equitable and inclusive community they live in, but that it takes it to the next level.”

Our moderator and panelists offered their thoughts about diversity, equity, and inclusion in their operations. Here are some of our favorites:


“[Journalists] are only as good as the trust we get from you. When we are out in the community, we should embrace your conversation.” — Otis Sanford, Hardin Chair of Excellence in Economic and Managerial Journalism



“Inclusion is an action. Inclusion is a conscious effort. People of color represent 22% of digital and print newsrooms but make up 40% of the population.”  — Ruby Bailey, Executive Editor, Columbia Missourian at University of Missouri-Columbia





“If you have a group of people that is diverse, that don’t look like you, you are more likely to come away with better decisions that challenge you.” — Mark Russell, Executive Editor, The Commercial Appeal





“I have hired 16 people this year. . . 50% women and most of them younger. We need those voices at the table to help us tell stories.” — Lisa Lovell, News Director, Local 24 News, WATN-TV





“We all have blind spots and the more diverse the room is, the fewer blind spots we have.” — James Overstreet, Editor-In-Chief, The Daily Memphian



“If you see something and you disagree let us know. We are trying to be better.” — Jonathan Mitchell, Vice President and General Manager, WMC Action News 5



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