Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Wednesday that she will only be giving one-on-one interviews to reporters of color around the two-year anniversary of her tenure as mayor, saying the City Hall press corps is "overwhelmingly white" in a city that's much more diverse.
Lightfoot said she ran on being intentional about diversity and said newsrooms need to do better on diversity, too. She notified the media of her plan to restrict one-on-one interviews to reporters of color in a letter to reporters and a series of tweets.
"By now, you may have heard the news that on the occasion of the two-year anniversary of my inauguration as mayor of this great city, I will be exclusively providing one-on-one interviews with journalists of color," Lightfoot wrote in a letter to local media outlets Wednesday. "As a person of color, I have throughout my adult life done everything that I can to fight for diversity and inclusion in every institution that I have been a part of and being mayor makes me uniquely situated to shine a spotlight on this most important issue."
"I have been struck since my first day on the campaign trial back in 2018 by the overwhelming whiteness and maleness of Chicago media outlets, editorial boards, the political press corps, and yes, the City Hall press corps specifically," she added. "... While there are women of color who sometimes cover my administration, there are zero women of color assigned to the City Hall beat. Zero. I find this unacceptable and I hope you do too."
Lightfoot urged newsrooms to "hire reporters of color — and especially women of color — to cover Chicago politics, and City Hall in particular." She continued, "If you only have a white reporter covering City Hall, make sure there's a person of color working with them as well."
In a series of tweets, Lightfoot said she is "being intentional about prioritizing media requests from POC reporters on the occasion of the two-year anniversary of my inauguration as mayor of this great city."
I ran to break up the status quo that was failing so many. That isn't just in City Hall.— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) May 19, 2021
It's a shame that in 2021, the City Hall press corps is overwhelmingly White in a city where more than half of the city identifies as Black, Latino, AAPI or Native American.
Chicago is 33% white, 29% Hispanic or Latino, 30% Black and 7% Asian, according to Census Bureau statistics.