The Guardian Hires New Editor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

By | January 14, 2021

Susan Smith Richardson has been named deputy editor for diversity, equity and inclusion at the Guardian US, the latest publication to add DEI coverage to its masthead.

The position will involve developing coverage on “race and identity, power and inequality,” as well as bringing diversity and inclusion to editorial sourcing, audience and recruitment, according to a statement from the Guardian US.

The role is an increasingly common one for publishers; the Washington Post and the New York Times announced similar positions in June and October, respectively. Those roles, as well as the new position at the Guardian, were inspired by last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd.

A time for introspection

“We had to look inward to see how we could address these issues within our own organization,” said John Mulholland, editor of the Guardian US, in an interview with Adweek.

In July, the Guardian US launched several initiatives to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. Those efforts included new senior editorial roles, reviews of newsroom practices and a hiring target of 50 percent of new roles to be filled by diverse candidates. Mulholland said the initiatives are ongoing.

“We know there is a huge amount of work to be done in terms of diversifying our journalism,” he said, adding, “we have to work in a place with a more equitable distribution of power.

Mulholland said Richardson will look to share that power by partnering with regional and nonprofit newsrooms, expanding the focus of the Guardian’s coverage and developing philanthropic projects about racial justice. 

“She will help us find more inclusive ways of reporting all of our journalism,” he said. 

A background in investigations

Smith Richardson comes to the Guardian from the Center for Public Integrity, an investigative journalism nonprofit. 

“I’m excited to join the organization at this critical moment for democracy in the U.S. and the world, and look forward to helping create journalism that accurately reflects the diverse narratives that constitute America,” Richardson said in a statement.

Richardson is not the only new hire at Guardian Media Group. The firm announced today the appointment of Claire Blunt as chief advertising officer and CEO international. Blunt will be responsible for the Guardian’s global advertising business, Guardian US, Guardian Australia, and Guardian Jobs.

In a statement, Guardian Media Group chief executive Annette Thomas said, “Claire will play a vital role in leading our global advertising and jobs businesses to embed and execute their new strategies.”

Rachel Winicov is a freelance writer for Adweek focusing on digital media, ad tech and social media.