In summary

Our journalists are focused today on issues of equity across California. But as a public-service organization funded by your donations, it’s important that we’re transparent about equity inside CalMatters as well. Here’s what we’ve learned from a look at ourselves:

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Our journalists are focused today on issues of equity across California. But as a public-service organization funded by your donations, we have to be transparent about equity inside CalMatters as well. 

Here’s what we’ve learned from a look at ourselves: 

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  • Gender: More than two-thirds of our 38 staffers identify as female or non-binary.  
  • Race and Ethnicity: More than 40 percent identify as people of color. Compare that to national averages in recent industry surveys and we’re doing well; compare it to 65 percent of Californians being of color and it shows that we don’t yet reflect the people we serve. 
  • Salary: Assessing salary equity is tricky at a small organization, but we took a quick look at 24 people with similar responsibilities, our journalists who are not supervisors. In that group we found differences of less than 5 percent among average salaries when comparing by gender, race and ethnicity. We will develop methodology for a more accurate comparison.   
  • Hiring: We have been careful to hire thoughtfully, judging candidates on their merits and counting among those merits the ability to bring diverse perspectives that better reflect California. Among our last 10 hires, seven are female or non-binary and five are people of color.   

The most obvious challenge at CalMatters is in my mirror. The organization’s top executives are white. Our staff conversations in recent weeks showed that leadership comes from all levels and corners of CalMatters, not just from “the top.” Our journalists are forming committees to look at the diversity of our sources, the ways we use words and phrases and labels, and our hiring process. But organizational leadership positions matter, and as we celebrate our fifth birthday I’m committed to addressing that in meaningful ways long before we turn six. 

We will also develop better ways to assess equity across our organization and share what we learn. As always, I welcome your comments — email me at neil@calmatters.org — and appreciate your support of our important work.

Neil Chase is Chief Executive Officer of CalMatters.

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Want to submit a guest commentary or reaction to an article we wrote? You can find our submission guidelines here. Please contact Gary Reed with any commentary questions: gary@calmatters.org, (916) 234-3081.

Neil Chase is the Chief Executive Officer of CalMatters. He was formerly Executive Editor at The Mercury News and the East Bay Times and has worked as a journalist at the San Francisco Examiner, Arizona...