Investigative Report: Idaho Dispatch is digging into who owns the newsrooms in Idaho. Who controls what the public sees and hears? Who decides what information is worthy of publishing? What is the culture of these organizations, and what are the factors in their decision-making?
“The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) advances understanding of the world through journalism. As the nation’s fourth-largest independent TV station owner, Scripps operates 60 television stations in 42 markets.”
55 stations’ names and logos are displayed on this Scripps webpage, but it says,
“Scripps’ Local Media operations represent a portfolio of 61 television stations in 41 markets.”Advertisement
As mentioned in previous articles, the policies, hiring, stories, and focus of many news organizations are now dictated by ESG and DEI. Idaho News 6 counts themselves among that category.
“ESG” is an abbreviation that was first used by the United Nations in reference to what they describe as responsibilities of people and companies in being a “global citizen.” ESG stands for Environmental Social Governance. The “S” or Social in ESG contains and represents DEI – Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. DEI is being adopted by many American companies and by their own accounts, it is the driving force behind many news organizations’ story choices, hiring practices, and overall culture. Instead of just reporting the news, these companies explain that they report to the community in specific ways to address social change, diversity, and racism.
In this previous Dispatch article, Idaho State Treasurer Julie Ellsworth discusses ESG in a video.Advertisement
The E.W. Scripps Co. slightly changes the order of the words, calling it Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: Equity Diversity & Inclusion | Corporate Social Responsibility | Scripps
From the Environmental, Social, and Governance Responsibility document here: 2023 ESG Proxy Section – Final (scripps.com), we can see a window into the culture and priorities of the news organizations owned by Scripps.
“Our four diversity pillars are: Race, Gender, LGBTQ+, and Veterans.
As a key focus of our EDI journey, we have labored to help both employees and external stakeholders understand how and why Scripps is focused on a more equitable, diverse and inclusive workplace. The awareness and educational part of our strategy is foundational to improving representation in our workforce. We celebrate our history and heritage months and ensure ongoing learning opportunities through The Welcome Table, which highlights educational awareness; Courageous Conversations, showcasing robust, candid discourse among employees and speakers; EDI Academy, which promotes intimate topical exchanges; and our annual Diversity Symposium. To engage employees deeper in our organization, we’ve also introduced our EDI Advisory Council, which will leverage employee perspectives on our EDI strategy and supporting tactics. Our Employee Resource Groups have increased across the organization, with each diversity pillar represented.”
In the same document, the Scripps Company explains their efforts to reduce their “carbon footprint.”
“Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Because it is a broadcast company, Scripps’ carbon footprint is relatively small. However, we all have a role to play in environmental sustainability, and Scripps is taking an active approach to further lighten its impact. Many of our operations have undergone energy audits to identify more opportunity for efficiency. Recycling programs are run at the corporate office and many of our local and national media locations. In 2022, we engaged a third-party consultant to help us identify and calculate our Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon emissions. The majority of our carbon footprint is produced by our newsgathering vehicles, broadcast towers and backup generators. Once our carbon emissions are calculated, we can identify opportunities and solutions to reduce our footprint.”
Scripps details their use of local news coverage, including what they bring you in Idaho, to integrate information on “climate change” and the environment into what the audience hears.
“As a news organization, we strive to inform our audiences about climate change and environmental impact across our local stations’ news coverage and our national news outlet Scripps News. Scripps News has partnered with 2030 Districts, whose initiatives are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030, to produce a 23-minute segment on modern metropolises and their impact on the environment in 2022. Scripps knows sustainability will be an ongoing effort.”
E.W. Scripps Co. and Scripps Media partnered with the Howard family to create the Scripps Howard Foundation and the Scripps Howard Fund. The purpose of these organizations is described here: The Scripps Howard Fund – Home – Giving Light Changing Lives
“The Scripps Howard Fund is a public charity that supports philanthropic causes important to The E.W. Scripps Company. In partnership with the company and the Scripps and Howard families, we are dedicated to bringing about a fully informed world by advancing journalism education, improving childhood literacy and giving back to the communities we call home. The Scripps Howard Foundation, an affiliated organization with the Scripps Howard Fund, supports Scripps’ charitable efforts through its endowment, key programs and major donations.”
Journalism grants focusing on DEI are a main focus of the Scripps Howard Fund.
“Diversity and Inclusion in Journalism Grants
The Scripps Howard Fund is seeking innovative ideas to get post-secondary students from diverse backgrounds invested in journalism and foster environments where all journalism students can actively participate and feel welcome.
Diverse backgrounds include but are not limited to race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military background and or membership in another group that is under-represented in journalism.
Universities and nonprofit organizations can apply for one-time grants of up to $30,000 to address this challenge.”
Just this month, the Scripps Howard Fund awarded grants to three organizations, one of which was the Southern Poverty Law Center, for the purpose of monitoring “extremist groups.”Scripps Grants
“The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) will receive a $30,000 grant from the Fund for its Intelligence Project, which monitors hate and extremist groups through the Unites States and counters their influence by exposing their activities to the public, the media and policy makers. With the grant, SPLC plans to launch a journalism training workshop at Historically Black Colleges and Universities with the goal to build the capacity of Black journalism students, so they can educate and inform a national narrative and understanding of how white supremacy and racism shape and harm everyday lives. In partnership with Florida A&M University School of Journalism and Graphic Communication, participants will receive training and mentoring from the Intelligence Project’s managing editor and longtime journalist, Maria Mallory White. SPLC will select 32 students to participate in the yearlong project.”
Are you noticing any changes in local media practices or reporting due to the influence of ESG and DEI policies, and the national and global corporations?
Stay tuned as the Idaho Dispatch will start examining local radio stations and their operations in the market.
Tags: Climate Change, Corporate Social Responsibility, DEI, Diversity, Environmental Impact, Environmental Social Governance, Equity, ESG, Extremism, Gender, Greenhouse Gas Emmissions, Idaho News 6, Inclusion, KIVI, KSAW, LGBTQ+, Race, Racism, Scripps Media, Southern Poverty Law Center, SPLC, Veterans, White Supremacy