PRNDI16 in Sketchnotes by Veronica Erb

Setting a vision for a new way forward in public media.

A letter from our founder of UnitedPublic Strategies

When I was invited by PRNDI to lead a panel discussion on diversity in newsrooms, I had no idea how strongly of a reaction the panel and I would receive. The amount of support for what we had to say was truly inspiring and overwhelming. Adam Ragusea’s article in Current has not only been shared in our world of public media, but beyond, to places like Paris, New Zealand, and Australia. I am truly humbled by it all.
 
Over the past six months, through the lens of the Next Generation Leadership program, of which I am one of eight senior editorial fellows, it’s become very clear to me the need for public media to harness a greater understanding of the power of diversity. I think many of you would agree that this is no longer an internal issue. Communities, institutions, funders and grantmakers, board members, and even employees, are demanding greater transparency and accountability around it.
 
So, the time is now.

UnitedPublic Strategies believes that diversity has the ability to become a disruptor.
 
We are committed to helping organizations understand the intersectionality of audience, content, talent and leadership, and the multiplying effects of diversity, as a strategic point of innovation. We believe that a methodical approach to diversity will lead to greater bonding across your stakeholders, increased sources of diverse revenue, long-term sustainability, a competitive market advantage, and further amplification of public media as differentiated.
 
How we do our work comes through a careful understanding of the dynamics that exist inside and outside of your organization. We look at the environment, the atmosphere, to determine what’s there, what’s missing, and what needs to be done differently. This can only be achieved if the entire organization is willing to be heard and listened to, and more importantly, mutually understood for its differences. It’s only when we can create a safe space, where empathy becomes a shared value, that the true work of diversity begins.
 
Together, we can solve some of our most pressing challenges and issues, and gain opportunities through the spirit and intent of civic discourse and dialogue, all of which must come from within our organizations. When we achieve the fullest participation of an “internal” public, we will begin to see the effects that outward intentionality can deliver to our communities, that goes beyond what broadcast and digital can’t do alone.
 
With all being said, let me tell you what UP Strategies is not:

  • We are not a diversity training company.
  • We are not an ad-hoc one-off diversity silver-bullet solution.
  • We are not a talent or leadership search or referral company for diverse candidates.

If that’s what you’re looking for there are plenty of companies who do that work, and we’d be willing to point you in the right direction.

But a word of caution.

Most of those tactics, alone, fail. You and I know it. There’s no point in attracting talent, if you can’t keep it. Creating diverse content for diverse audiences, if you can’t sustain it. And talking about diversity, if your organization does not reflect it.
 
What we are is a new way forward. We’ll partner with you in identifying new voices, new questions, new perspectives, new passions, and new experiments, with the understanding that key to developing anything new means a commitment to strategic innovation as a persistent action.
 
Until we launch, which will be soon, be well…
 
-Andrew

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