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KUOW Racial Equity Initiatives

Racial equity work is critical to achieving our mission of creating and serving a more informed public. Below, we have outlined the steps we've implemented thus far as we work towards our goal of becoming an anti-racist organization. This process is ongoing, and these steps mark the beginning — not the end — of our work.

WORKFORCE

Recruit, nurture and retain a diverse workforce at all levels.

  • Staff Diversity: Improving staff diversity across all levels of the organization is a key performance goal for the President and General Manager. We will report our staff diversity numbers each year as part of our commitment to transparency. See latest staff diversity data >
  • Standardized Hiring Process: Starting in 2019, KUOW launched a project to transform our hiring process to support our goal of recruiting, hiring and retaining a diverse staff. We have now instituted a multitude of equity-focused changes to our standard recruitment, candidate screening, interview and hiring processes.
  • Compensation: KUOW completes compensation studies every four years to ensure our compensation is equitable across staff members and competitive in our industry. We have used this data to guide annual adjustments in compensation across teams.

CONTENT AND PROGRAMMING

Prioritize the inclusion of diverse voices and perspectives on our platform.

  • Diversity of Sources: Since 2015, we have tracked the diversity of sources for our local broadcast features and of guests on our midday show The Record. This year, we are working to expand source tracking into more kinds of stories to gain a deeper picture of our source diversity across platforms. See latest source diversity data here >
  • Narrative Screening: The Racial Equity Team has developed a Narrative Screening document with foundational questions to ensure reporters and editors ground our reporting in the context of systemic racism, center the voices of communities of color, challenge — not perpetuate — racist narratives or stereotypes, and offer solutions led by communities of color.
  • Partnerships and Fellowships: KUOW has regularly hosted Next Generation Radio training projects and has recruited and hired graduates of the program. In addition, we have piloted a Fellowship in our newsroom to recruit and train diverse next-gen journalists. Finally, we have and will continue to establish partnerships with independent BIPOC journalists to enhance our coverage.
  • Ethics Policy: Our newsroom leadership has begun a review of our Ethics Policy to take a critical look at our policies around "objectivity" and "fairness."

TRAINING

Invest in training to promote learning and skill development for racial equity amongst staff.

  • Racial Equity Team: In 2017, KUOW created a Racial Equity Team (RET), facilitated by a paid racial equity consultant. The team, comprised of staff members from across the station, has conducted research and attended trainings and conferences to identify best practices to bring to KUOW Leadership.
  • Staff Training: All staff and board members complete our Leading with a Racial Equity Lens for Organizational Transformation training, with more continuous trainings offered throughout the year including sessions on implicit bias, managing for a diverse workplace and more.
  • Monthly Speaker Series: We’ve instituted a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) speaker and training series for the general staff, along with speakers for specific departments, covering topics such as journalistic objectivity, implicit bias, inclusive language and decentering whiteness in storytelling, as well as in policy and practices.
  • RadioActive Youth Media: KUOW's RadioActive program seeks to break down barriers that keep marginalized people out of newsrooms. RadioActive engages youth from across the spectrum of class, culture and identity, while prioritizing the needs of youth who are underrepresented in media including youth of color, LGBTQIA+, financially insecure, immigrants, and/or religious minorities. RadioActive actively seeks partners who serve youth from communities historically marginalized by media institutions. Recent partners include Coalition for Refugees from Burma, Echo Glen Children’s Center, King County Interagency Detention Center, New Holly, Refugee Women’s Alliance, Seattle Public Libraries, Seattle Public Schools and WSU Tri-Cities.

ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE

Cultivate a work culture that values equity and develop processes for KUOW staff to surface concerns and opportunities.

  • Office Building: The Racial Equity Team has also pressed on LGBTQIA+ issues such as prioritizing building a gender-neutral, single occupancy restroom on station premises. KUOW Leadership has committed to this restroom as the next-in-line capital project once we accumulate funds. KUOW has designated a Wellness/Prayer and Lactation room for staff.
  • Employee Wellness: We have made time available for staff wellness needs, cultural needs and mental health time, including in a virtual work setting.
  • Staff Feedback: In 2020, KUOW launched an annual Transforming Organizational Culture Assessment (TOCA) to establish a better baseline and monitor trends in staff perception of our workplace culture. In addition, we use Gallup surveys and a micro-survey/feedback tool to give staff anonymous means of sharing feedback with leadership. We do demographic breakouts of our survey results to assess if racial groups are experiencing KUOW’s workplace culture differently.
  • Performance Goals: Every month, our leadership team must report on their progress in committed racial equity work. In addition, racial equity work is considered in performance reviews for all supervisors.

COMMUNITY ACCOUNTABILITY

Bring our community in as a stakeholder in our work, inviting conversation, being open and transparent, and holding ourselves accountable.

  • Community Engagement: Our Community Engagement team ensures that KUOW has a meaningful and interactive relationship with the dynamic communities of the Puget Sound region and beyond. The team is committed to diversity and intersectionality, and to amplifying BIPOC voices, listening to their feedback and ideas, and creating innovative opportunities to connect them to our newsroom. New efforts include providing opportunities for real-time feedback on our coverage, by text, email or phone. Another is through Curiosity Club, which connects diverse community members directly to our newsroom editors and reporters by discussing KUOW stories over dinner. Each cohort is intentionally curated with the aim of bringing together community members who reflect the racial, cultural, political and gender diversity of our surrounding community. The majority of participants are people of color and/or members of our LGBTQIA+ community and range in age from 20s to 60s.
  • Community Feedback: In addition to our Community Engagement team's work, KUOW has instituted annual audience surveys to gain a better understanding of our current audience and gaps in our coverage. We also have and will continue to hold meetings with community groups to listen to their feedback on our coverage and its impacts.
  • Transparency: Again, we will be publicly sharing our progress in our anti-racist work, source diversity and staffing diversity as a way to hold ourselves accountable to the community we serve.
  • Investments: KUOW is aligning our investment portfolios with our values. We have begun moving our investment funds towards companies with demonstrated behavior toward positive societal impact, as well as organizational practices aimed at diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Vendor Selection: KUOW's racial equity lens extends to vendor and contractor selection, and we are committed to prioritizing doing business with organizations led and owned by Black, Indigenous, and people of color, women, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.