New York Times union wants ‘sensitivity readers’ employed to create a ‘more diverse’ newspaper
New York Times union wants ‘sensitivity readers’ employed to create a ‘more diverse’ newspaper

A union representing over 1200 employees of the New York Times has met with the paper’s leadership and recommended paying ‘sensitivity readers’ to check content in a bid to make the paper ‘more diverse and equitable.’

The New York Times Guild revealed on Friday some “highlights” from their many recommendations for a “top to bottom resetting of priorities” at the paper. The guild said its proposals were motivated by a desire to “improve the working conditions” for people of color.

Perhaps the most bizarre of the suggested changes is for the newspaper to employ people who will do “sensitivity reads” of every story before it is published, making sure nothing is offensive to any particular group.

While the idea might sound outlandish and akin to censorship, the concept is not entirely new. Some writers and publishing companies have already turned to hiring “sensitivity readers” in recent years to pour over texts and axe anything remotely politically incorrect.

Other recommendations from the union to the Times include making sure the demographics of employees perfectly reflect those of New York City, meaning 24 percent should be black, and over 50 percent should be people of color. This goal, it says, should be met by 2025, though there’s no word on whether those percentages will need to continually change as the city’s demographics do. 

The New York Times itself has not confirmed whether or not it will actually be restructuring its hiring process and bringing on “sensitivity readers” in line with the recommendations. The guild said it is still waiting on a response from management.

The suggestions come after a ‘civil war’ of sorts at the paper. 

Following the publication of an op-ed written by Republican Senator Tom Cotton suggesting the military should be used to stop violent Black Lives Matter protests across the country, numerous Times writers protested, claiming the piece put black coworkers in “danger.”

The squabble led to the resignation of editorial page editor James Bennet, who apologized for publishing the piece, chalking it up to a “rushed” editorial process.

Opinion writer and editor Bari Weiss also left her position and publicly shared her fiery resignation letter earlier this month, detailing behind the scenes drama at the paper and claiming she was bullied over her “centrist” views.

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