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Updated: January 23, 2023 From the Editor

From the Editor: Moving beyond basic DEI coverage

Worcester entrepreneur Shawna Curran said something particularly profound in main Jan. 23 edition feature story “A place for innovation” from Staff Writer Isabel Tehan.

WBJ editor Brad Kane at his desk
WBJ Editor Brad Kane

In discussing the need for dedicated spaces for business professionals of color, Curran said whenever she interacted with white entrepreneurs in Greater Worcester’s startup community, she was often having to justify the need for her company to exist. Her business, STEM ENRG, seeks to train women of color on coding, project management, and financial literacy. Curran developed the business idea during her career in tech, an industry where women and people of color are underrepresented.

The switch to remote work as part of COVID provided relief for professionals of color, Curran said, as they didn’t have to deal with microaggressions or constantly having to justify their work. I can only imagine how exhausting it must be to deal with all this on a daily basis. If the foundation of every professional conversation I have is establishing why WBJ should exist as a business or a journalism publication, I would barely get anything else done. For entrepreneurs like Curran, who are hustling to grow out of the startup phase, such conversations must be irritatingly distracting.

Yet, WBJ’s coverage of diversity, equity, and inclusion has often fallen into this trap. In my mind, whenever we write about DEI issues, I feel like I have to justify to the faceless, skeptical masses why DEI is important. For example, take our weekly Flash Poll of our readers, which I develop with the staff writers. Whenever we ask about a DEI topic, the question always revolves around the basic idea of “Do you think diversity is a good thing?” By continually taking this approach, we don’t move the conversation forward and are instead stuck in the cycle of trying to prove the importance of a topic we already know is important. We don’t do this for other business principles like “Do you think low unemployment is a good thing?”

This is going to change. The fundamental question of “Why DEI?” is going to shift to “How can we achieve better diversity, equity, and inclusion?” in WBJ's stories. There is much to know and even more to report about DEI. If we don’t move out of the initial stage of justifying its existence, we’re never going to be in a place where WBJ’s reporting makes businesses and the economy better.

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January 23, 2023

This is an essential shift for businesses and organizations who wish to continue to be leaders. Well done WBJ. Now to follow through on this directive.

January 23, 2023
This is a fantastic shift for WBJ to make. Thank you.
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