By Kent R. Kroeger (January 31, 2019)
In early January, New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez chided CBS News for failing to have even one African-American journalist among its newly selected 2020 election team.
“This (White House) admin has made having a functional understanding of race in America one of the most important core competencies for a political journalist to have, yet, @CBSNews hasn’t assigned a ‘single’ black journalist to cover the 2020 election,” tweeted Ocasio-Cortez soon after CBS released its new election reporting team.
“CBS, your 2020 election team is disgraceful,” was the headline at one Virginia newspaper.
“CBS News’ decision to not include Black reporters on their 2020 Election news team further proves the voting power and voices of Black America continue to be undervalued,” said the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in a press release.
Whether CBS News’ human resource decisions are within Ocasio-Cortez’ lane of responsibility is questionable, but not the concern in this essay. Nor are we concerned with whether CBS News should feel defensive about their hiring decisions. That is a political debate.
The topic for this essay is how CBS News could have easily avoided this controversy.
Best talent and diversity are complementary but independent hiring goals
American business schools are filled with theories, graduate seminars and practicums on the best hiring practices for businesses and organizations to attract the best talent and achieve diversity. Those are complementary goals, but achieving one is no guarantee in achieving the other.
But as revealed in the CBS News case, many organizations still don’t meet both goals in tandem. Surprisingly, the solution is well-known and quite easy — yet, for many reasons, organizations resist this solution.
The solution is to introduce random-selection at critical points in the hiring process as a way to ameliorate the common…