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Constance White: ‘Essence has always had a diverse staff’

Whether it’s Marie Claire and Mike and Molly or airbrushing at Newsweek, readers are using the Web to talk back to their favorite mags like never before, and not even legacy pubs like Essence are safe.

The stuff hit the fan for the Black women’s bible in 2010 when it hired a white fashion director, and a similar controversy erupted recently over its hiring of a white managing editor. So, in the second installment of our Media Beat interview, we asked editor-in-chief Constance C.R. White to address whether the criticism was valid.

“My take is that Essence has always had a diverse staff,” she said. “That was last year… and I’m moving forward.”

White said her main focus in the fashion section, and all of the book, is to focus on what the reader wants, not to reflect the opinions of her editors.

“If you start to think of it as an editor as necessarily your concept of the situation, you can really get off-track. What we really do and what I really encourage my editors to do is be a proxy for the reader.”

Part 1: Essence EIC: We Are ‘Absolutely’ Looking for New Writers

Part 3: Want a Job at Essence? Be Curious.

This video can also be viewed on YouTube.

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