Quartz CEO Zach Seward sent the following statement to the financial news site’s staff on Thursday:
I wanted to write today about the fight for racial justice happening now in the US and, in particular, what it should mean for Quartz. My strong feeling is that, in addition to supporting Black Lives Matter and other anti-racist movements worldwide, we need to take this moment to improve as a company, as well. This note is just a starting point. We will hold small group discussions this month to hear from colleagues on this topic and get into more detail about what we need to do better. From there, I want to work with all of you on changes at Quartz that would better uphold our values and improve our performance on diversity, equality, and inclusion.
Black lives matter is a moral statement, not a slogan or marketing opportunity. Of course that is obvious to those who have long been part of the movement, but it’s crucial for everyone to reflect on, so that the protests gripping America right now result in real change to public policy and to industries and companies like our own. As a society, we cannot continue with policies that enable the murder of African Americans by police, among many injustices. As an industry, media cannot continue to marginalize the voices of minority journalists. And as a company, Quartz cannot be complacent with our own record on racial diversity.
Rejecting racism and xenophobia is a core part of our company’s values. Our journalism is undoubtedly the most effective tool we have to effect change in the wider world, and I know the newsroom has been focused this week on coverage of racial justice, with many important stories in the works. The next Quartz at Work (from home) workshop, on June 11, is about workplace diversity and how we can build anti-racist companies. Great business journalism reveals systemic problems, of which racism is an especially pernicious one. Our readers expect great coverage on this from Quartz.
As we go about that work, I am also cognizant that I need to do better as a leader and we need to do better as a company on issues of race. We have historically had strong gender diversity but poor racial diversity among our US staff and in Quartz’s leadership. We need to take stronger measures to improve our hiring practices and ensure that more people of color are represented and heard across the company. Prior to the pandemic, I had been working with groups in our industry and attending meetings to help guide us on these issues. That led to draft initiatives to require diversity in our candidate pools for open jobs and hold ourselves accountable, and I will make sure they are now quickly implemented. I’ve also received a strong proposal from the newsroom union on this front, and I’m eager to get more feedback from everyone on how we can make Quartz a more inclusive company. Our director of people operations, Kelly Bollaci, is in charge of this effort as part of the culture mission that launched last fall. We know this will take real and sustained effort to get right.
Most of all, I want our black colleagues to know that we support you. While we can’t be together in person right now, we all need to be there for each other. Anyone who needs to take personal time right should please do that. And I and the rest of Quartz’s leadership are here to listen and learn to be better allies. It is the most important issue of our time. I hope you will join me for group discussions this month (sign-ups to come) and all of the work ahead of us.