Shirley Carswell, deputy managing editor at the Washington Post
, now heads the newspaper's recruiting, hiring, diversity and training efforts. She joined the Post
Following her promotion, Carswell discussed with the IWMF how women journalists can stand out in the hiring process and the need to maintain diversity in newsrooms.
Q: Tell me what your new role as head of recruiting, hiring, diversity and training efforts will entail.
My new role is focused on broadening The Post
's talent acquisition efforts to ensure we are hiring the best journalists around the country and on enhancing the skills of our existing staff. And in both hiring and promotion, I'll be focused on increasing diversity, which will result in better coverage.
Q: What qualities and skills do you and your team look for in new hires?
Above all, we look for people who are curious about the world around them and who are passionate about telling stories. Of course, we also look for strong writers, analytical thinkers and those with broad digital skills.
Q: How can women journalists in particular distinguish themselves in the hiring process?
Women sometimes are not as comfortable tooting their own horn, talking about their accomplishments and strengths. Those who are skilled at showcasing their work can distinguish themselves.
Q: You will also be responsible for training journalists in your new role. What are some issues you anticipate addressing, especially as newsrooms continue to change and adapt?
recently launched a major training initiative for the entire newsroom, and that's the foundation upon which I'll be building. Issues include helping journalists discover and make better use of new digital tools that are cropping up every day and ensuring that our journalistic standards are upheld across all platforms.
Q: According to the Maynard Institute post about your new job, buyouts are disproportionately claiming journalists of color. How can newsrooms ensure that valuable voices aren't lost in the shuffle? Can your new position help with this?
One of the areas I will be focused on is staff retention. When people feel like they have a future in preserving and building the business, they are less likely to move on. However, one thing traditional media companies have to realize is that younger journalists don't necessarily desire to spend their entire careers at one place, like some in my generation have. We shouldn't view it as a negative whenever someone decides to move for another opportunity. But we need to have a pipeline of new journalists of color so that we don't lose those voices or lose ground on diversity in newsrooms.