Sep 15, 2020 - Economy

String of media companies replace top editors with people of color

An image compilation of newspaper clippings.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A number of media companies, especially with audiences that skew female, are replacing top white editors with people of color.

Why it matters: A slew of top editors were forced to step down from their positions this summer after the #BlackLivesMatter movement and protests sweeping the nation forced media companies to reckon with their own shortcomings on diversity.

Driving the news: Facebook and Instagram partnerships executive Simone Oliver has been tapped as global editor-in-chief of Refinery29, a millennial and female-focused fashion and beauty site. She replaces Christene Barberich, Refinery29's co-founder and former editor-in-chief.

  • Refinery29 had been hit with allegations from former employees of workplace discrimination against black women. Oliver was previously at Allure, a beauty magazine from Condé Nast, and The New York Times.
  • Elle Decor, a subsidiary of Hearst, also announced last Wednesday that Asad Syrkett has been appointed editor-in-chief of the U.S. edition of the magazine and website.
  • Bon Appétit said last Wednesday that Dawn Davis, a senior executive at Simon & Schuster, has been named editor-in-chief, replacing Adam Rapoport, who resigned in June after a picture surfaced of him wearing brown face.
  • Harper's Bazaar, also a subsidiary of Hearst, announced in June that it had hired Samira Nasr as its first black editor-in-chief in the magazine's 153-year history. Nasr was previously the executive fashion director at Vanity Fair.

Go deeper: The media struggles to talk about race, too

Go deeper