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St. Louis Public Radio's Next Steps For Diversity, Equity & Inclusion And Community-Building Work

St. Louis Public Radio (STLPR) is continuing and intensifying efforts to build a more inclusive professional community, one that is built on trust and that continues to elevate the concerns of former and present BIPOC and non-BIPOC colleagues who have spoken out about a station environment they considered hostile or unwelcoming.

The overarching focus of our work is better aligning our organization and ourselves with best practices in talent management and support with an emphasis on anti-racist principles and approaches. This work is being stewarded by the station’s senior leaders in partnership with the staff diversity, equity & inclusion workgroup, to fulfill our commitment to the vision for change by industry coalition Public Media for All.

Public Media For All

Public Media for All envisions stations and organizations in which everyone is respected; diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) improvements are measured and reported; and content reflects the varied interests of diverse communities.

Our DEI Work in Action:

In June, the STLPR staff DEI workgroup reached consensus with station leaders to work with Sons and Daughters of Saint Louis (SDSL), a nonprofit consultancy specializing in community-building and change management, to drive DEI efforts over the summer and into the fall of 2021. Specific activities and deliverables include:

  1. A culture study to clarify opportunities for improvement to work culture and climate;
  2. A vision statement to provide a “north star” for sustaining continuous progress toward achieving a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive climate and culture at the station;
  3. Success metrics to monitor progress toward achieving a more diverse, inclusive and equitable workplace in addition to improved management practices;
  4. Training sessions to help all staff members learn about and develop anti-racist practices, empathy and trust;
  5. Workshops for peer groups to continue work from all-staff trainings, and facilitate individual accountability;
  6. Workshops to help managers support their team members.

The timing of this continuing work is ideal given that staff members are returning to the station, at least part of the time, after working remotely during the coronavirus pandemic. The training and workshops are best suited for in-person interactions.

In other diversity, equity and inclusion work, STLPR has completed collective “360-degree” reviews of all managers; a compensation equity study; our executive editor has addressed problems with past news coverage and station leaders have shared anaccountability statement. The station also has improved hiring and promotion practices, working in partnership with theUMSL office of diversity, equity & inclusion.

Tom Livingston is a public media leader and consultant with more than four decades of experience at local and national levels. He has served two terms as vice chairman of the NPR Board of Directors; is a past Chair of the Public Media Business Association; has managed three different public radio organizations, and has served in the Interim General Manager role for more than a dozen organizations, primarily public radio.