Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists requests resignation of Philadelphia Magazine editor
After having received numerous requests to address the cover photo in the October issue of Philadelphia Magazine, the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (PABJ) published a statement that requests the resignation of Philadelphia Magazine Editor Tom McGrath.
“It is clear that Philadelphia Magazine will not change until it hires leadership that truly cares about diversity rather than leadership that apologizes for the lack of it whenever it is “called out” by the community,” PABJ stated.
The cover photo made national headlines this week, featuring "A City Parent's Guide to Schools" but failing to include a member from the majority African-American student body the School District of Philadelphia serves.
And although McGrath apologized quickly after releasing the cover, the organization believes it is not enough.
PABJ published the following statement in response to the October issue:
“PABJ is outraged and disappointed by Philadelphia Magazine and its leadership’s continued and repeated insensitivity to race and diversity in a city with a population that is majority people of color. Over the years, PABJ has repeatedly reached out to Philadelphia Magazine’s leaders. That includes outreach to editor Tom McGrath, during a town-hall, meeting with groups whose membership and constituents include people of color, sending letters, issuing statements and much more. We have requested more diversity at Philadelphia Magazine and even offered to help leadership identify viable candidates. None of these methods have worked.
"When PABJ met with Tom McGrath in 2013 after the flagrantly insensitive “Being White in Philly” article was published, he promised PABJ membership that there would be change. He apologized to the Black and minority community for the magazine’s lack of sensitivity and promised to seek more diverse hires for the magazine’s newsroom.* Two years later, McGrath and Philadelphia Magazine are apologizing yet again, as part of what seems to be a never-ending cycle.
"It is clear that Philadelphia Magazine will not change until it hires leadership that truly cares about diversity rather than leadership that apologizes for the lack of it whenever it is “called out” by the community. PABJ therefore requests that Tom McGrath resign as editor to make room for a leader whose track record supports a commitment that can ensure Philadelphia Magazine is truly representative of the city for which it is named.
"In addition, it is up to the entire Philadelphia community to use its economic influence to show Philadelphia Magazine and other publications that producing racially insensitive material is unacceptable. If community members are truly outraged, perhaps they should boycott the magazine and call on its sponsors to do the same.
"Finally, diversity in newsrooms is important to ensure adequate coverage and representation of a community as richly diverse as Philadelphia. PABJ is asking any organizations or individuals interested in diversifying the media in this city to stand with us. PABJ is an organization of journalists — not activists — and we cannot do this without you. PABJ needs the entire community — of all colors and backgrounds — to take a stand and demand that all newsrooms reflect the diverse people they seek to represent.”