NPR Faces More Criticism Over Diversity

A year after NPR's controversial firing of Juan Williams, Joel Dreyfuss, a founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists, is charging that the network still has a huge "diversity problem."

In an open letter to the network's new CEO, Dreyfuss praised Gary Knell for for his reaction to the political fallout of a tumultuous year, but warned that that NPR's management and staff are still overwhelmingly white.

"Don't mistake the fiery exit of Williams as just a nasty personnel matter gone nuclear," he wrote. "His departure was a sad commentary on the monochromatic vision of many liberal institutions -- a disease that NPR has not escaped."

He pointed to Ellen Weiss, the senior executive who fired Williams and later resigned over her handling of the situation, as an example. He recalled asking her why "All Things Considered" was "so white," and being told that it wasn't because it had Juan Williams. He called her response an example of "arrogance among liberals" who deny that they could ever be racist.

After alleging that the network has a "dulcet-toned narrative of all things white and comfortable," he challenged NPR to be more inclusive.

The NABJ has criticized NPR's lack of diversity before. For its part, NPR has acknowledged the problem, pre-Juan Williams firing, and pledged to reach out to a broader audience.

The network installed a vice-president for diversity issues, as well as two black executives and one black correspondent after a 2009 meeting with the NABJ -- a move that the organization called "better but not enough."

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