California Times Diversity and Inclusion Report 2021

The Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune are located in and serve two of the most diverse cities in the world. Our organization, California Times, is one of the most diverse and inclusive in the news media industry, with history dating back to 1868. Three years since being acquired by the first person of color to own either paper, our organization continues striving to better represent our communities.

We are committed to improving diversity, equity and inclusion, and to cultivating a sense of belonging among all employees. Our core values are excellence, truth, fairness, diversity and transparency. Individually and collectively, our core values support the shared goal of valuing the perspectives and contributions of all people. We have also completed a compensation review and, for our union-represented employees, ratified contracts that support pay equity as a core tenet. Our company has also adopted policies that support these values in our hiring, retention and advancement practices.

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This report includes data on the gender and ethnic makeup of the staff of the Los Angeles Times and San Diego Union-Tribune, as self-reported by staff as of June 2021. Included are comparisons to demographic data for Los Angeles County. Breakouts for our business and newsroom departments are also included.

Our mission is to inform, engage and empower.


Trend reports for California Times employees since the acquisition of The Times by Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong in June 2018.

All Los Angeles Times employees

L.A. Times newsroom employees

L.A. Times business employees

All San Diego Union-Tribune employees


Compared to the Local Population

White and People of Color Comparisons

All Los Angeles Times employees

L.A. Times newsroom employees

L.A. Times business employees

San Diego Union-Tribune employees

PoC Ethnicity Breakdown

All Los Angeles Times employees

L.A. Times newsroom employees

L.A. Times business employees

San Diego Union-Tribune employees

Action Plan

We are committed to continuous improvement, both in representing the communities we serve and in cultivating a sense of inclusion and belonging among all our staff. To that end, we continue developing and enhancing our action plan to address diversity and inclusion through our existing policies and procedures while also instituting new ones.

Recruitment and Hiring

We are strengthening the procedures that ensure diversity is considered in our hiring process across all areas of our business. Our human resources information system (HRIS) includes functionality to monitor the diversity of applications received, and this year we have implemented a new candidate-sourcing tool that enables us to monitor diversity indicators for potential candidates we are pipelining for future roles.

We are reporting here on hires made across the whole company between January and December 2021, a period that extends six months beyond the workforce data reported above.

Work continues on revamping our job descriptions to ensure they use inclusive language, include fair and consistent minimum and preferred qualifications, and incorporate our newly developed competency framework and manager KPIs, which are based on the company’s core values developed in 2019 in consultation with the staff.

We are confident that our efforts to attract, hire and retain increasingly diverse cohorts will positively impact our workforce diversity over time.

Key performance indicators (KPIs) are being launched in 2022 to monitor adherence to recruitment procedures and hold managers accountable. We will also be rolling out a new competency framework and training managers on behavioral interviewing, to ensure that selection decisions are based on objective and fair criteria.

San Diego Union-Tribune leadership has been working with several diversity committees to seek input and ideas from staff in all departments and at all levels to further improve inclusiveness and foster belonging across the company.

In the L.A. Times newsroom, all journalists, including the Black, Latino, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Caucuses, are proactively informed about the creation of all new job listings and recruiting efforts as we search for candidates. We created new columnist positions within both the L.A. Times Metro and Entertainment departments to build additional opportunities for growth. We also created two new Metro roles to focus on reporting on Black L.A. and health care in communities of color. We have also worked with the L.A. Times Guild to create new job classifications to enable career development and promotions in areas such as design and data and graphics.

The Times’ assistant managing editor and deputy editor for culture and talent worked with a representative committee to overhaul our editorial internship and Metpro programs for the newsroom. Our internship program has seen increased participation from state colleges and universities. We have also increased the size of the paid internship program to provide more training opportunities for emerging journalists, and created a spring program for local students. Our Metpro program was relaunched this year as the Los Angeles Times Fellowship program.

Over the next four years, our goal is to achieve a newsroom where Latinos make up at least one-quarter of our staff, and where we move closer to representation among all groups, using L.A. County as a benchmark.

Learning and Development

We recognize that our collective success depends on strong leadership throughout the organization. All managers are enrolled in mandatory recruitment and unconscious bias training. These training sessions are increasingly focused on building effective and welcoming teams, where staff from all backgrounds and lived experiences will feel included and whose voices will be valued. In 2021, all other employees were offered a live, facilitated training on the art of inclusive communication conducted by the National Conflict Resolution Center. L.A. Times newsroom employees are also offered mentorship and training programs that are tailored specifically to the needs of journalists.

During the first half of 2022, we will also be launching management fundamentals training for all newly promoted or hired managers across the organization. In addition, we will be offering management and leadership development training programs, including executive coaching, throughout the year. These programs all include a focus on fostering an inclusive and supportive culture across the company.

Performance Evaluation and Promotion

We are further developing our performance management program to move toward a continuous model, rather than annual reviews, and to facilitate 360-degree feedback. To that end, we launched quarterly check-ins in 2021 to encourage more frequent dialogue between managers and employees, review of work and discussion of progress toward goals. We also launched the feedback functionality via our HRIS, which enables both peer-to-peer and 360-degree feedback.

Wherever possible, we promote internal candidates into management positions. All backfill and new roles across the organization are advertised internally but historically have required proactive search of internal systems by employees to locate opportunities for development. In 2022, we will be launching a system to enable job alerts for opportunities that match employees’ self-reported skills and interests to be promoted to them. This system will also identify and promote learning opportunities that match employees’ reported areas of desired skill development.

Fostering a Fair and Inclusive Culture

We have created metrics to help evaluate our adherence to diversity initiatives and other management best practices and to hold managers accountable for providing effective support to all their team members. We will continue conducting staff surveys and focus groups to listen to employee voices on hiring, engagement, and management practices and company culture. Inspired by the racial justice conversations in 2020, California Times added a paid day off in 2021 that can be used to observe Juneteenth or another day of cultural, religious or personal significance. We will also continue to review compensation annually to ensure pay equity across the organization.

News Coverage

During the period covered in this Diversity Report, July 2020 through June 2021, the L.A. Times added reporting positions and expanded coverage that focuses on under-covered communities. The Times published Our reckoning with racism, a 50th anniversary package on the Chicano Moratorium, revived 1982’s Black L.A.: Looking at Diversity and 1983’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Latinos series, and produced a range of stories on AAPI representation and anti-Asian racism during the pandemic. We have launched a Latino life vertical in both the Union-Tribune and The Times, the Latinx Files newsletter, season two of the Asian Enough podcast and Plant PPL, a series that spotlights people of color in the plant world.

The Union-Tribune produced the Social Justice Reporting Project, where six journalists from diverse backgrounds were selected to report on the voices and faces of the racial and social justice movement, expanded its Community Advisory Board, a diverse group of local people who advise the paper on its coverage, and rolled out the Community Voices Project. The Union-Tribune added a metro column exploring issues of identity in civic life, published a package of essays from Black San Diegans about their lives, racial justice and police brutality, and launched Hello Gen Z, a podcast about America’s most racially diverse generation.

The Union-Tribune and The Times also began production on “Nuestra Voz Today,” a bilingual English and Spanish series that highlights Latino coverage from both newsrooms, which premiered in July 2021. The Union-Tribune also hosts a weekly forum for editors and reporters focused on coverage of the Latino community.

The Times initiated an audit of its style guide to ensure use of inclusive language across the newsroom. We have created training and provided guidelines for coverage of breaking news, crime and justice. The newsroom has also been hosting a series of discussions connecting editors and reporters with community stakeholders, critics and readers. The newsroom will hire a community engagement editor to implement a short- and long-term strategy to continue building trust and creating interactions with its audiences.

In 2022, the L.A. Times newsroom plans to create a formalized internal pipeline program for journalists from all groups to gain training and mentorship to advance. The newsroom’s diversity committee is currently examining how it can implement its plan to track source diversity for stories.

The L.A. Times will continue boosting its coverage of inequity and communities of color in Southern California, Sacramento and Washington, and add more diverse voices among its columnists and commentators.

Diverse and Inclusive Leadership

Between June 2018 and June 2021, we made strides in diversifying our L.A. Times newsroom management, moving from 68% white and 65% male at the point of the sale to 62% white and 62% male. At the executive leadership level in the L.A. Times newsroom, we have moved from 67% white and 75% male to 47% white and 47% male, or majority people of color and female, in June 2021.

Diversity among managers on the business side of The Times has also increased. People of color now constitute 45% of business side management, up from 42% in 2018.

At the Union-Tribune, diversity among managers has increased from 22% in 2018 to 30% in 2021, with Latino managers accounting for 17%, up from 9%, and the proportion of Asian managers increasing from 7% to 13%.

We are committed to continuing these increases in the diversity of the newsroom, company leadership and across the organization.