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The Huffington Post Is Awfully Pale–But Don’t Ask Them About It

Over at Poynter, Richard Prince has a column noting that new media companies are incredibly resistant to answering questions about the diversity of their staff–especially the Huffington Post.

For at least the last two years, Arianna Huffington’s pioneering, buzz-creating website has posted photos of its staff holiday party, and a casual glance shows few people of color.

That might explain the skepticism that greets declarations of commitments to diversity from HuffPost and others that won’t say exactly how diverse they are. They don’t seem to believe that the old Ronald Reagan line — “Trust but verify” — applies to them.

Asked to name the one or two staffers in last month’s photo who appeared to be African American, Mario Ruiz, spokesman for the operation, replied by e-mail, “sorry, cant identify folks for you.”

The photo Prince is referring to, shown top left of this post, is from a recent HuffPo holiday party. Awfully pale indeed.

That said, other new media companies don’t seem to be much better:

In April, the American Society of News Editors completed its second attempt at measuring diversity at online news organizations, but the Huffington Post did not participate.

Neither did AOL, MinnPost.com, Salon.com, Talking Points Memo (TPM Media LLC), the Daily Beast or Yahoo.

Bloomberg and Politico also say that their policies are not to disclose such information, even though Politico’s editor-in-chief, John Harris, sits on ASNE’s board. So does Anthony Moor of Yahoo, another non-discloser.

Minorities fought hard for gains in the newsrooms of America’s major dailies. Here’s hoping the big new media companies start getting a little more enlightened with their minority hiring–because it’s tough to ignore photos like the one above.

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