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?
In Part One of this series, Idaho Dispatch brought you the names of the companies or organizations that own many of the newsrooms in Idaho. We provided links to their webpages for the public to inspect for themselves. You can view the article here: Idaho – Who Controls the Information You’re Receiving? – Idaho Dispatch
Here in Part Two we dig further into the culture, policies, and motivations behind these entities. We look at the implementation of ESG and DEI policies and practices. The list is in no particular order, but mirrors the order of our previous article and our new video, which can be seen here: ESG & DEI In Idaho News Rooms (rumble.com)
“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.” It is difficult to track down the first use of the term ESG, but it is believed to have originated in United Nations documents dating back three decades or more. You can browse some of the UN information here: Economic and Social Council
As explained in our video, 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.
From this Forbes article,
“The abstract nature of ESG means that some companies choose to connect their ESG efforts to the UN’s 17 development goals, as these are specific and concrete. Many companies select a couple of development goals and make concrete ESG policies in these areas. For example, they may phase out single-use plastic to reduce ocean pollution under the UN goal “Life Under Water,” or reduce emissions and pollution from production or construction as part of the UN goal “Sustainable Cities.” Using the development goals makes ESG tangible for employees and provides a clear starting point for the organization.”
Idaho State Treasurer Julie Ellsworth recently published a video illustrating her understanding of how implementing ESG ratings will negatively affect Idaho businesses. Ellsworth notes,
“It is not hard to see how these ESG rating criteria can negatively affect Idaho and our industries. It is important that we protect our state and our businesses.”Advertisement
Here we compile ESG/DEI information coming from the companies and organizations that own the newsrooms that provide reports to Idahoans.
ADAMS PUBLISHING GROUP (APG) (18 news outlets owned in Idaho, see our previous article for the list): A privately owned pension fund company. They do not list ESG or DEI anywhere on their webpage that we could find.
TEGNA, INC. (owner of KTVB Boise, KSKN Spokane, KTFT Twin Falls, KREM Spokane): Tegna’s 2021 ESG Report is divided into the following categories: Environmental, Social Impact, DEI, Serving our People, and Corporate Governance. From the report,
“TEGNA’s desire to accelerate the pace of racial diversity and inclusion at our stations parallels our determination to ensure our coverage and storytelling reflects the communities we serve. Our customized Inclusive Journalism Program seeks to deliver such coverage through unconscious bias, inclusive reporting, leadership training and diversity and inclusion content audits in all 49 of our newsrooms.”
Tegna explains in the report that they keep track of their greenhouse gas emissions, socially impactful investigations, how they decide to spend money and donate in support of “sustainable development goals,” the DEI culture they are building including their metrics and tracking, and their inclusive journalism programs and progress.TEGNA-2021-ESG-REPORT_230526_200354
McCLATCHY MEDIA NETWORK (owner of The Idaho Statesman): McClatchy is owned by a private hedge fund company, Chatham Asset Management. Chatham recently paid a $19.3 million penalty because of a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation. The Idaho Dispatch will bring you more information on this in a future article.
STATES NEWSROOM (owner of Idaho Capital Sun): States displays this page on their website: DEIJ – Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice: https://statesnewsroom.com/deij which explains,
“We incorporate values of diversity and equity in selecting stories to pursue, choosing sources to consult, and crafting language to publish. We are guided by such values in hiring for our newsrooms, fostering organization culture, and retaining staff members.”
“We recognize that people from marginalized communities face challenges that others do not, and our work will not ignore society’s inequities. We intend to produce the kind of journalism that is a force for positive social change and that challenges the inequality and racism many readers experience.”
It goes on to list what they describe as recent accomplishments, which includes, in part,
- Maintained a DEIJ committee to advise the organization’s leadership on steps it can take to further actualize values of diversity and equity
- Advertised open positions at States Newsroom with professional organizations, such as National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Asian American Journalists Association, Native American Journalists Association, to ensure our candidate pools include as much variety as possible
- Included language about our appreciation of difference in the About our Culture section of every job post
- Impressed the importance of States Newsroom’s DEIJ values upon every hiring manager and editor during any hiring process
- Pursued reporting and sourcing with an eye to diversity and inclusion
- Began to establish partnerships with HBCUs and minority-serving institutions to provide opportunities for training young journalists of color
- Hired an experienced consultant then transitioned to a full-time practitioner to take the lead on all DEIJ matters
- Provided the majority of our staff with a DEIJ training”
SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP, INC. (owner of KBOI Channel 2): Sinclair has been criticized for a one-size-fits-all approach to managing their newsrooms nationwide. In this video, which includes Idaho’s KBOI 2 News, you hear Sinclair newsrooms across the US reading the exact same script in their evening reports: Sinclair’s Soldiers in Trump’s War on Media – YouTube
Christopher S. Ripley, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sinclair Media Group had this to say when introducing their 2022 ESG report,
“At Sinclair, our mission to create, innovate, and lead; deliver must-have content across all platforms and devices; and attract and retain the best employees, goes hand-in-hand with our commitment to sustainability, diversity, community outreach, journalistic integrity, and good governance. By prioritizing environmental, social, and governance initiatives we are not only doing what is right for our communities, our people and our planet, but we are also creating long-term value for our shareholders.”
You can view the 2022 Sinclair ESG Report in its entirety here:Sinclair ESG Report 190259_230508_114808
For additional study and information, try searching “ESG origin” and browse the online results.
Tags: Adams Publishing Group, DEI, Diversity, Environmental Social Governance, Equity, ESG, Globalism, Idaho State Treasurer, Inclusion, Julie Ellsworth, Mainstream Media, McClatchy, Media, Media Bias, News, Racism, Sinclair Broadcast Group, States Newsroom, Sustainable Development, Tegna, UN, United Nations