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A prominent black journalist’s group has taken issue with CNN over a lack of diversity in the network’s hiring practices when it comes to African-Americans in upper “leadership” positions.

On Tuesday, the National Association of Black Journalists announced that it had placed the self-proclaimed “most trusted name in news” on its “special monitoring list” over what it claims is a lack of black representation in the executive ranks and specifically in regard to CNN President Jeff Zucker’s inner circle.

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The formal statement appears to be the result of frustration over Zucker’s refusal to meet with a delegation from the organization to discuss the issue in a private setting until frustration finally boiled over into what could be an ugly public spat between CNN and the NABJ.

According to the NABJ’s official statement:

The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is concerned about the lack of black representation within the ranks of CNN’s executive news managers and direct reports to CNN President Jeff Zucker. This concern, coupled with Zucker’s refusal to meet with a four-person NABJ delegation, has prompted NABJ to place CNN on a special media monitoring list.

A special team will perform further research and an analysis of CNN’s diversity, inclusion and equity practices, per the NABJ Board’s directive. The special team will also publicly report on identified deficiencies in hiring a diverse workforce in news decision-making capacities at CNN. NABJ is also calling for a civil rights audit that examines the company’s hiring, promotion and compensation practices involving black employees.

Specifically, NABJ is concerned about the findings of preliminary research that reveals the following:

▪ CNN President Jeff Zucker has no black direct reports.
▪ There are no black Executive Producers at CNN.
▪ There are no black Vice Presidents on the news side at CNN.
▪ There are no black Senior Vice Presidents on the news side at CNN.

NABJ received a communication from CNN disputing only one of our research points, saying the assertion that there are not any black vice presidents on the news side is inaccurate. However, when asked to provide the name and position of the individual or individuals involved on the editorial side of news, CNN has yet to provide specifics.

In addition to special media monitoring activities and the civil rights audit, NABJ’s next steps involve further engaging with CNN’s parent company, AT&T, which has responded positively to outreach efforts and previously agreed to meet with NABJ.

The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) said Tuesday that it would place CNN on a “special media monitoring list,” citing a lack of black representation among the network’s leadership ranks.

NABJ said in a statement that its preliminary research showed that CNN has no black employees reporting to CNN President Jeff Zucker. It also showed that the news organization has no black executive producers as well as no black vice presidents or senior vice presidents on the news side.

CNN disputed the group’s finding that there are no black vice presidents on the news side, according to NABJ. But the news network did not provide the name or position of the vice president or vice presidents, NABJ said.

The NABJ said a four-person delegation sought to meet with Zucker but that the CNN president refused to do so because of “a personal issue between CNN and NABJ’s Vice President-Digital Roland Martin” stemming from Martin’s participation in a 2016 town hall with then-Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

CNN may be able to trot out race-baiting cranks like Don Lemon on a nightly basis to fan the flames of racial resentment over President Trump and an oppressive nation that is falsely purported to be hostile to blacks but perhaps the network should clean up it’s own house first.

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