About Us

The Diversity Pledge Institute is a group of professionals with decades of experience across industries committed to solving the diversity pipeline problem by improving retention rates associated with diversity, equity and inclusion; and supporting journalists’ career growth.

The Problem

Most news organizations do not adequately reflect the diversity of the communities they serve. This lack of diversity substantially weakens the quality of news organizations and their content, leading to countless challenges in recruitment, retention and audience growth.
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The Opportunity

By centering diversity, The Diversity Pledge Institute helps media organizations exceed readership and revenue goals by exposing companies to a larger talent pool while helping them discover new audiences and pathways to profitability.
There was also a question about this icon conveying a multi-pronged approach instead of one that holds diversity as the core ideal driving forward innovation. Perhaps something like the icon at the left would better convey the message.

The Solution

DPI provides media organizations with a bespoke service to improve recruitment, retention, and advancement of employees from diverse backgrounds, with a goal of increasing profitability, employee satisfaction and audience growth.

The Problem

Most news organizations do not adequately reflect the diversity of the communities they serve. This lack of diversity substantially weakens the quality of news organizations and their content, leading to countless challenges in recruitment, retention and audience growth.

The Opportunity

By centering diversity, The Diversity Pledge Institute helps media organizations exceed readership and revenue goals by exposing companies to a larger talent pool while helping them discover new audiences and pathways to profitability.

The Solution

DPI provides media organizations with a bespoke service to improve recruitment, retention, and advancement of employees from diverse backgrounds, with a goal of increasing profitability, employee satisfaction and audience growth.

About Us

The Diversity Pledge Institute is a group of professionals with decades of experience across industries committed to solving the diversity pipeline problem by improving retention rates associated with diversity, equity and inclusion; and supporting journalists’ career growth.

About Us

The Diversity Pledge Institute is a group of professionals with decades of experience across industries committed to solving the diversity pipeline problem by improving retention rates associated with diversity, equity and inclusion; and supporting journalists’ career growth.

Mission Statement

The Diversity Pledge Institute will solve the diversity pipeline problem by improving retention rates associated with diversity, equity and inclusion; and supporting journalists’ career growth.

Vision Statement

The Diversity Pledge Institute will create inclusive environments while diversifying the global workforce and providing journalists with the skills they need to elevate their careers.

The events of 2020 have heightened awareness and created real opportunities for every organization to focus on how it can better support diverse employees, stakeholders and communities in a wide variety of markets. The Diversity Pledge Institute was established in 2021 to help organizations do just that. DPI will create inclusive environments while diversifying the global workforce and providing journalists with the skills they need to elevate their careers.

The Diversity Pledge Institute’s mission is to revolutionize the journalism workforce by connecting vetted, diverse candidates to potential employers and supporting the candidates’ career growth. At a time when there are major metropolitan newspapers without a single Black person in the newsroom, the Diversity Pledge Institute is first and foremost a pledge. Our pledge eliminates the excuse of “We don’t know where to find diverse candidates” by identifying qualified diverse applicants for every open position.

We will also maintain a proprietary database of problematic incidents related to diversity, equity and inclusion in news media organizations and how they were handled, and produce an annual report on diversity in news media organizations.

DPI is composed of experienced leaders from diverse backgrounds, many of whom have broken boundaries in their sectors. The DPI team consists of high performers committed to supporting individuals and organizations who are ready for real change when it comes to diversity, inclusion, equity and accessibility.

Not only does the DPI team bring extensive experience in a variety of sectors — including management, market expansion and operations — but they will bring that expertise to the organizations they work with in order to identify and provide feedback on processes that can hinder progress when it comes to DEIA efforts.

Larry Graham

Founder and Executive Director

Larry Graham is the founder and executive director of The Diversity Pledge Institute. He spent the majority of his career leading sports journalists in newsrooms across the country. He’s worked at ESPN.com, The San Diego Union-Tribune, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and The Kansas City Star, to name a few. Most recently, he served as deputy director of local news transformation at the American Press Institute where he built the Table Stakes website. Larry is on the board of directors for the APSE Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering diversity in sports departments. He’s also a NewStart fellowship recipient studying Media Solutions and Innovation at West Virginia University’s Reed College of Media.

Rebecca Lisi, Ph. D.

Program Manager

As a 14-year local elected official (Holyoke, MA 2008-2022) Rebecca is a scholar-practitioner with expertise in the fields of urban politics, state and local politics, and race and ethnicity in politics. Her dissertation, Latino Race Cards: Negative Racial Appeals in Contemporary Political Campaigns and the Bounds of Racial Priming Theory, explores the different discursive norms surrounding negative Black and Latinx campaign appeals aimed at mobilizing white voters. Rebecca was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (DDRIG) to fund the nationally representative survey experiment used in her study. Rebecca brings to DPI more than a decade of experience teaching in higher education and with online instructional design and course management.

Gaby Martinez-Stevenson, A.B.D.

Director of Institutional Research

Gaby has over 10 years of mixed-methods research experience with a strong focus on research and survey design and implementation, data analysis and collection, and evaluation. Prior to joining DPI, Gaby worked as a senior research analyst where she assisted in the design, management, and implementation of applied research and program evaluation for higher education, public health, and human services evaluations. Her academic work centers on race, immigration, citizenship, and soccer. She also has taught several college-level courses including intro to statistics, race and ethnicity and social inequality. Gaby is active in her community — she was a member of her city government’s Community Relations Committee, has advocated for accessibility to resources, and is a founding member of a local community organization that seeks racial and social justice within her community. Ms. Martinez-Stevenson is a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She earned her master’s in applied sociology from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Jane Elizabeth

Senior advisor

Jane is a longtime journalist who has worked in newsrooms including The Washington Post, The Pittsburgh-Post Gazette and The Virginian-Pilot; and most recently was managing editor of The (Raleigh, N.C.) News & Observer and The (Durham, N.C.) Herald-Sun. She also was director of accountability journalism at The American Press Institute. Board memberships include The Freedom Forum’s Power Shift Project, Radford University’s College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences, and The North Carolina Press Association. She holds a master’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and is a former Knight-Nieman visiting fellow at Harvard University.

Douglas K. Smith

Senior Consultant

Doug Smith created the principles and methods for performance-driven change that have been used to foster results and new capabilities in enterprises across more than 60 industries.  Doug is the architect of the Media Transformation Challenge, the premier news transformation program in the world as well as the Table Stakes programs that have helped hundreds of local journalism groups find sturdier paths toward 21st century journalistic and economic sustainability in the US and Europe.

Alicia Ramirez

Digital Media Director

Alicia Ramirez is a veteran of the news industry with more than 10 years of experience in newsrooms across the nation. Most recently, she was a faculty fellow at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism where she guided student journalists as they covered both the school and the greater South Los Angeles area. Prior to that she was a web producer for CBS Los Angeles, a designer/editor for the Chicago Tribune and a news editor for a trio of publications in rural South Central Texas. She is also a NewStart fellowship recipient studying Media Solutions and Innovation at West Virginia University’s Reed College of Media and is working to open her own nonprofit newsroom in Riverside County, California.

Inquiries and Donations

Like countless other organizations, we rely on financial support to achieve our goals.