Harris has been focused on expanding the reach and role of the Emma Bowen Foundation by engaging new partner companies, and increasing recruitment to diverse organizations, schools and students with varying interests and backgrounds. He’s also facilitating more conversations on diversity and inclusion. “Many of our partners view participating with our program as an investment instead of charity. They are focusing on hiring diverse talent through an internship pipeline as a business imperative instead of using internships solely as a vehicle for exposure,” Harris says. Harris recently graduated from the New York Police Department’s Citizens Police Academy to gain a more in-depth understanding of the institution.
A February 2018 UCLA study revealed that of the 45 new scripted shows approved for 2017-18 across broadcast, cable and digital platforms, only four were from creators of color, all of whom were black. What is your reaction to this report?
The 2018 UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report lets the industry know that we still have a long way to go to ensure that media being produced is reflective of its audience.
What’s a recent example of a step forward for diversity in the industry?
Many of our partners view participating with our program as an investment instead of charity. They are focusing on hiring diverse talent through an internship pipeline as a business imperative instead of using internships solely as a vehicle for exposure.
In what areas should the industry step up its efforts with regard to diversity and inclusion?
The industry would benefit from tying diversity and inclusion goals to performance review processes. Companies can manage issues and find solutions for things they measure. What is measured, matters.
What’s your best advice to someone just entering the video content/distribution industry?
Those entering the video content/ distribution industry should understand the revenue side of the business. Making the case for diversity based on the flow of dollars and the potential for new revenue cuts through the noise.
If there were a reality show based on your office, what would it be called?
The show would be called “American Dream.”