Building a Diverse Newsroom

This tweet exposed the work Axios has to do to improve the diversity of its news room. It was jarring to see how few people of color the startup had working there at the time. Alexi McCammond, one of their top reporters, wasn’t in the shot, but that’s not much help.

If you click into the tweet, you’ll see folks going in on the lack of diversity at the startup. So, I was glad to see Axios partner with Howard to host one of their excellent Axios360 events. They recently hired a black journalist and I look forward to them making a concerted effort to adding more underrepresented journalists – of which I imagine this event is part of the strategy.

Building a newsroom is one of the things I’m most excited about in building CultureBanx. It’s been fantastic having Kori on board and I’ve got my eye on some other really talented business journalists. If we can execute on the vision for this thing, I’ll be able to recruit one of the most special news rooms out there.

Who are your favorite black business journalists?

No. 48: LinkedIn Not Paying Attention to Africa Would Be a Huge Mistake

LinkedIn is missing an opportunity to capitalize on its reach into the top management talent around the world to capture the stories of Africa’s top business talent and their experience before and ruing the economic sea change taking place across the continent. The company’s Influencers program has been running for over two years now and it does not have much representation from African thought leaders. I counted at least three.

Africa’s growth story is a big deal. Between 1990 and 2000, GDP growth lagged the global average. Since that time, growth on the continent has exceeded the global average, considerably. Hundreds of millions of people will be moving into the middle class across the continent. Food policymakers are watching the continent while trying to figure out where the food is going to come from to feed the next billion people. How are the top business people across the continent dealing with this growth? What do they read for inspiration? Who are their mentors?

Why would it make sense for LinkedIn to pay more attention, you ask? I often hear from African business leaders that they did not know certain things were going on in other countries on the continent. At the same time, policymakers are trying to figure out how to solve the problem of traveling executives needing to secure a visa for 80 percent of the African countries they visit. Stock exchanges are upgrading their technology and deploying new investment tools. Startups are pushing for solutions to big issues on the continent. Agricultural output is increasing in some countries. LinkedIn would be at the crux of solving these enormous issues.

Another reason LinkedIn should be paying more attention to Africa is its Economic Graph project – “digitally mapping the global economy to connect talent with opportunity at massive scale.” If LinkedIn gets traction with this project, the results could be massive for African countries, many of which have worked extremely to improve the data the collect. The data provided by LinkedIn’s graph could provide actionable insights to these governments.

So, LinkedIn should pay more attention to Africa. Recruit some Africa-focused business leaders to write. Here is a sample of suggestions:

Bob Collymore

Monica Musonda

Ory Okolloh Mwangi

Acha Leke

Fred Swaniker

I’m happy to provide more!

P.S. Thanks to Jason Calacanis for the headline inspiration.