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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A slew of high-level resignations from top news editors over the past week shows how much pressure the current racial protests is putting on media companies to confront their own shortcomings on diversity and on covering race issues.

Driving the news: Top editors at Bon Appétit, Refinery29, The New York Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer have all resigned in the past week due to their handling of sensitive stories about race, the Black Lives Matter protests, or newsroom culture.

  • Bon Appétit editor-in-chief Adam Rapoport resigned on Monday after a picture surfaced of he and his wife wearing brownface. Rapoport also faced pressure from women who spoke out on social media about a culture of discrimination at the magazine under his leadership against women of color.
  • Refinery29's co-founder and editor-in-chief Christene Barberich announced Monday that she is stepping down from her role as editor-in-chief following allegations from former employees of workplace discrimination against black women.
  • The New York Times' opinion editor James Bennet resigned Sunday, days after widespread internal and external criticism over his decision to green-light an op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) that called on President Trump to "send in the troops" in order to quell violent protests over the death of George Floyd.
  • The Philadelphia Inquirer's longtime top editor Stan Wischnowski, stepped down Saturday, soon after the company was slammed for publishing an article with the headline "Buildings Matter, too" prompting dozens to stage a virtual walkout at the company.

The big picture: The protests have forced many media companies to seriously reckon with their own policies around newsroom diversity and coverage of race issues for the first time.

  • The last time the industry faced such a reckoning around internal policies was during the #MeToo era, which saw the departures of dozens of top-level news bosses after stories became more prominent about the way white men in power undermined female subordinates.

Go deeper: Four fiascos for mainstream media

Go deeper

National Enquirer CEO David Pecker to step down in merger

David Pecker. Photo: Francois Durand/Getty Images

David Pecker is stepping down as CEO of American Media Inc., to adopt an advisory role in the parent company of the National Enquirer as it enters a merger, per a Friday release.

The big picture: Pecker, an influential tabloid media figure, has led the company since 1999 and helped orchestrate "catch and kill" deals between two women who claimed to have past affairs with President Trump, the New York Times reports. Trump has denied the affairs.

Fed chair says low interest rates aren't driving stock market prices

Jerome Powell. Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / Getty Images

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell told reporters on Wednesday that rock-bottom interest rates aren't playing a role in driving stock prices higher, while noting that vulnerabilities to the financial system are "moderate."

Why it matters: The statement comes amid unshakeable stock prices and a Reddit-fueled market frenzy — prompting widespread fears of a bubble and the role monetary policy has played in that.

2 hours ago - World

Biden freezes U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official tells Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

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