Most of us in the multimedia and entertainment industry understand that diversity is a value added and something to be proud of. But let’s speak plainly: Diversity isn’t going to evolve. A truly diverse industry will happen because companies agree to make it happen.  It will happen when companies have goals, targets and deadlines for it.

It’s clear that our industry is dynamic and continues to expand in many directions. With a larger subscriber base comes an audience with great diversity in age, gender and ethnicity. While this diversity has been a blessing for cable, it also brings unique challenges for programmers, operators and their HR departments.

One challenge is to increase diversity in the workforce to not only reflect the multiethnic audience, but to respond to the need for entertainment and information in a culturally sensitive way. How do we accomplish this? By recruiting and developing a staff that reflects the diverse customer-subscriber base.

I certainly won’t claim  this will be easy, but it can be done. One way to begin is by going outside the circle of the known to the unknown. The Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are a good place to start. The various culture clubs on campus, the sororities and the fraternities that have local and national chapters are looking for opportunities for their students and members. Every year, Howard University’s School of Communication holds a job fair on its main campus in Washington, D.C. This national event is an excellent place to recruit students of color who are interested in this industry.

The HBCUs are not alone. Traditional colleges and universities also are reaching out to students of color. I visited Penn State University and met with representatives from its Engineering, Computer Science and IT schools. They are actively recruiting students of color from local high schools. The IT program has a seven-year strategic plan that includes a goal of having 40% students of color.

Boston’s Emerson College, a major source of talent for the multimedia and entertainment industry, has an Executive Director for its Center for Diversity in the Communications Industry.

Needless to say diversity organizations like NAMIC, WICT and T. Howard can help your company create alliances with HBCUs and other minority groups. We’re anxious to help.

Of course companies must create opportunities for employees to network and gain exposure to HR and Diversity executives. Every year there are events that recognize individuals and companies that have demonstrated their commitment to diversity. An excellent way to demonstrate your commitment is to make a conscious decision to have guests at your table who are diverse and reflect your customer base.

The next NAMIC Diversity survey results will be reported in 2008.  In 2006 only 14 NAMIC companies reported, just seven of those participated in the 2004 survey. The 2006 report found that the number of people of color in middle management fell from 13 percent in the 2004 study to 11 percent. People of color in lower management dropped from 22.7 percent in 2004 to 20 percent.

We all want to report good news.  There’s enough time to push these numbers up for the 2008 survey if we start immediately.  Start with a commitment and a plan. We can do this!

Josephine T. Pamphile is president of the T. Howard Foundation.

The Daily


Mediacom Fights Against Rip & Replace Changes

A request by the Rural Wireless Association for the FCC to prioritize Eligible Telecommunication Carriers [ETCs] for funding to remove and replace communications equipment deemed harmful isn’t sitting well with Mediacom.

Read the Full Issue
The Skinny is delivered on Tuesday and focuses on the cable profession. You'll stay in the know on the headlines, topics and special issues you value most. Sign Up


Jan 21
Cablefax 100 – 2022 Nominations Due: January 21, 2022
Mar 11
The FAXIES 2022Entry Deadline: March 11
Apr 1
Cablefax Top Ops – 2022Nominations Due: April 1, 2022
Jun 3
The Diversity List – 2022Nomination Deadline: June 3
Aug 12
Most Powerful Women – 2022Nominations Due: August 12
Full Calendar


Seeking an INDUSTRY JOB?

Hiring? In conjunction with our sister brand, Cynopsis, we are offering hiring managers a deep pool of media-savvy, skilled candidates at a range of experience levels and sectors, The result will be an even more robust industry job board, to help both employers and job seekers.

Contact for more information.