This week, the politics and news outlet Politico lost two reporters of color, Manu Raju and Tarini Parti. Those departures wouldn't necessarily constitute news except, as International Business Times reported last month, Politico operates one of the least-diverse newsrooms among major online news publishers, and is significantly less diverse than major legacy print newsrooms, including cross-town rival the Washington Post.
Parti announced on Thursday that she will be joining BuzzFeed as a reporter on Capitol Hill next month, while Raju revealed on Tuesday that he is leaving for CNN to cover Congress and the 2016 election.
The politics site, founded in 2007 by Washington Post alumni John F. Harris and Jim VandeHei, was described by one now-former employee as "the whitest newsroom I have ever worked in" during an interview with IBTimes. A rough estimate based on Politico's masthead confirmed that assessment with nonwhites constituting about 8 percent of the news staff. The exit of Raju and Parti would reduce that figure further.
When contacted on Thursday, Politico editor Susan Glasser did not provide IBTimes with internal figures. "[W]hatever the exact numbers are, the bottom line is that they are not at all good enough -- and that's why we're committed to keep working on this as an institution and making it a priority with our recruitment efforts," she said in an email.
Glasser also expressed Politico's desire to improve.
"Diversity is important in this and every newsroom, and we are committed to doing better. We've launched initiatives like the Politico Journalism Institute and other efforts to identify, hire and develop reporters with widely diverse backgrounds," Glasser said in another email. "It's critical to us that the demographics of our newsroom reflect the audience we serve, and we'll continue to be really tough on ourselves until we see significant results from our diversity recruitment efforts."
As IBTimes reported earlier this month, the Politico Journalism Institute is a 10-day summer course for recent college graduates designed to bring minorities into Politico's newsroom. Nolan McCaskill, one of the few black members of the editorial staff currently listed on the masthead, came aboard Politico in 2014 through the institute in its first year of operation to cover financial services, transportation and trade.
Of the sites that either shared their numbers with IBTimes or publicly displayed their mastheads, Politico had the lowest estimated diversity level, next to the website Business Insider. BuzzFeed and Mic.com disclosed their figures and beat the average level of print media's newsroom diversity, though the Washington Post topped the field, according to data provided by the American Society of Newspaper Editors.
Among the shops that did not provide their numbers were Vice, Gawker Media, Vox Media, the Huffington Post, Mashable and Vocativ.
Reached by email, Raju declined to comment except to say: "Politico has been a remarkable place to work, and I've really loved my time here." Parti did not respond immediately to a request for comment.