DEIJ Policy


Media outlets too often reinforce harmful stereotypes and perpetuate forms of discrimination, thereby leaving large parts of the communities they serve excluded or misrepresented. The news industry has long been led by a privileged subset of the population, and the bias and systemic racism that reporters chronicle in their stories often is present in journalism itself. States Newsroom and South Dakota Searchlight commit to do better. We pledge to embody the values of diversity, equity, inclusion and justice, and we ask readers to hold us accountable.

We embrace diversity and equity as inherent to our mission to be a news source for every member of the community and as an organ of First Amendment freedoms for all people. We also recognize such values as central to superior news reporting. Our journalism succeeds only if it reflects and informs readers from diverse backgrounds, regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability/neurodiversity, age or socioeconomic status. We recognize that people from marginalized communities face challenges that others do not, and our work will not ignore society’s inequities. We intend to produce the kind of journalism that is a force for positive social change and that challenges the inequality and racism many readers experience.

We incorporate values of diversity and equity in selecting stories to pursue, choosing sources to consult, and crafting language to publish. We are guided by such values in hiring for our newsrooms, fostering organization culture, and retaining staff members.

We have more to learn about diverse perspectives and identities, and we know this will be a process. What are we getting right? What are we doing wrong? We invite you to tell us.

States Newsroom and South Dakota Searchlight commit to:

  • Maintain a DEIJ committee that reviews organization practices and advises leadership on steps our organization can take to implement values of diversity and equity
  • Work with professional organizations to actively recruit a diverse pool of candidates for positions. These include: National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Asian American Journalists Association, Native American Journalists Association, South Asian Journalists Association, The Association of LGBTQ Journalists, GLAAD Media Institute, Trans Journalists Association and others.
  • Ensure hiring managers and editors support and implement States Newsroom’s DEIJ values during the hiring process and in fostering our culture
  • Conduct a staff audit to develop data on States Newsroom’s success in achieving DEIJ goals
  • Pursue reporting and consult sources with an eye to diversity and inclusion
  • Create partnerships and fellowships with HBCUs and minority-serving institutions to provide opportunities for training young journalists of color
  • Hire a full-time States Newsroom DEIJ director¬†
  • Provide entire staff with DEIJ training from an experienced consultant