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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The protests have forced many media companies to seriously reckon with their own long-standing policies around newsroom diversity, social media use, activism and coverage of race issues.

The big picture: The protests are also forcing some outlets to take a harder look at whether and how they should allow journalists to publicly support or speak out about issues they care about.

  • The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is being slammed by its own journalists for barring two African American journalists from covering protests in the city because of "apparent bias."
  • Variety editor-in-chief Claudia Eller was placed on a two-month administrative leave last week after receiving criticism for a Twitter back and forth about an op-ed she wrote about diversity.
  • Fox News anchor Bret Baier apologized to his viewers on Monday for airing an image last week that noted the stock market's rally in the wake of George Floyd's death and other notable deaths of black men.
  • Axios, like other media companies, has addressed internally whether employees are allowed to participate in protests, according to an internal email obtained by The New York Times.
  • Business Insider's top editors have reportedly also had conversations with staff over its policy about whether journalists can donate to bail funds following public outcry.
  • The Washington Post and The Times have grappled for years about how journalists speak out on social media. The Times on Monday obtained a report about "Recommendations for Social Media Use" that was commissioned by The Post about how reporters have used social media in the past.

The bottom line: Many companies are having to re-examine long-standing policies around activism, diversity and social media use from a moral lens.

  • The key, as The Washington Post's Margaret Sullivan notes, lies in whether journalists and journalistic institutions are able to uphold their core missions of serving their readers while also considering ways to make moral choices surrounding civil rights, press rights, racial justice and gender equity.

Go deeper: Coronavirus presents existential threat for news media

Go deeper

Updated Sep 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Axios-NewsWhip 2020 attention tracker: We're numb to the coronavirus

Data: Newswhip; Chart: Axios Visuals

We're over COVID even if it isn't over us.

Why it matters: Six months into the pandemic, online engagement around coronavirus stories has dropped off markedly and continues to reach new lows even as the pandemic continues, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Sep 15, 2020 - Economy & Business

Exclusive: Facebook invests $5 million in newsroom diversity efforts

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Facebook is investing $5 million in programs for newsrooms of color and entrepreneurial journalism, executives tell Axios.

Why it matters: The investment comes amid tensions between Facebook and civil rights leaders over the prevalence of hate speech and misinformation on its platform.

The rebellion against Silicon Valley (the place)

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Smith Collection/Gado via Getty Images

Silicon Valley may be a "state of mind," but it's also very much a real enclave in Northern California. Now, a growing faction of the tech industry is boycotting it.

Why it matters: The Bay Area is facing for the first time the prospect of losing its crown as the top destination for tech workers and startups — which could have an economic impact on the region and force it to reckon with its local issues.