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Saturday, February 27, 2016

ESPN's The Undefeated: Reason for Being

This is the 2nd of a 3-part article, which takes a look at why ESPN has invested on a new site, the rationale behind it, and critical reactions to The Undefeated.

ESPN's new site, The Undefeated, got its name from a Maya Angelou quote, "'You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it,'" which the site's former editor, sportswriter Jason Whitlock, quoted in an interview last year. "I thought that pretty much summarized the African-American experience in general," he said. "We are The Undefeated."

“This is a thoughtful attempt to talk about issues that touch on race; it’s not all going to be serious,” said Marie Donoghue, the ESPN executive vice president who oversees Grantland, FiveThirtyEight and The Undefeated. “It will also be joyful.” (the New York Times)

Rationale for The Undefeated: “Because Not Enough Black Media”
Through the lens of sports, The Undefeated will be the premier platform for intelligent analysis and celebration of black culture and the African-American struggle for equality. The Undefeated will challenge, engage and advocate for people of color in a manner consistent with the black-press pioneers, such as Sam Lacy, who led the charge for Jackie Robinson's civil rights-sparking baseball career.

The above quote, written on The Undefeated site, states the clear rationale behind ESPN's new website.
John Skipper, president of ESPN, said so in interviews, like the one he had with Re/code during the annual Code/Media conference held in Dana Point, California last week. “There is nothing more important in our culture right now than race relations...There is not enough black media in this country. There is not enough black-owned media in this country. There are not enough sites run by people of color.”

Thrust Towards Diversity
“challenge, engage and advocate for people of color in a manner consistent with the black-press pioneers” - It is clear in this phrase ESPN's thrust is towards the inclusion of black people, towards building greater diversity in media by providing more opportunities for African Americans.

“We want to give some opportunities to a new generation of [writers of] color,” Donoghue said of ESPN’s efforts to raise the diversity quotient in sports journalism. See here:

Rush Limbaugh,  doesn't think so, however. He was quoted as saying,
        “And now ESPN with their website, The Undefeated, which is one hundred percent African-American in content. As though that's the only way the African-American audience at ESPN can be properly served. Just doesn't seem like it's going in the right direction to me. I know the word empowerment is used a lot and this will be seen as empowering the people who are employed to work on this website. And it'll probably be said that it's empowering the African-American audience of ESPN. But it's still segregating, isn't it? Is that what we're out to do now? Is that the objective? Segregation?”- See here:

African Americans in Media
African Americans are reported to be underrepresented in media, and as ESPN's John Skipper mentioned, only few sites are owned by Blacks. Here is an excerpt from a report last year by the Washington Post:
In 2013, minorities owned just 6 percent of commercial television stations in the country, 6 percent of FM stations and 11 percent of AM stations.
With a few notable exceptions (the cable network Black Entertainment Television launched in 1980 and TV One followed in 1995), African American ownership remains particularly low, hovering at less than one percent of all television properties, and less than 2 percent of radio. Last year in fact, just two television stations were owned by black owners. (That number is up to about 10 today).

The same report likewise mentioned that aside from media consolidation being the reason for this low representation of Blacks and other minorities, lack of diversity is compounded by historic discrimination.

The Pew Research Center published last year a fact sheet regarding the state of African-American media, stating: In broadcast, a few new African American-oriented television news programs emerged in 2014 and at least one new syndicated radio program emerged.[...] And seven full power TV stations came under black ownership in 2014 – up from zero in 2013.

What Critics Say about The Undefeated
There are those who echo Rush Limbaugh's sentiment, seeing the new website as being racist. One article, commenting on a previous report about the site's launching and even overlooking the fact Whitlock is no longer with The Undefeated, asked, “Diversity now means separate blacks from whites?”

Online commenters chimed in with their own negative reactions:
- This is why I will no longer watch the racist ESPN….
- Amazing how Blacks can have their own magazine – Ebony. Their own black congress caucus and now their own black ESPN, – wasn’t the civil rights movement about everyone being treated equal?
- The blacks have their own heritage month, and they want to get rid of everything of MY heritage now they have their own espn channel.

Moving Forward
Nevertheless, at this point, as The Undefeated is set to relaunch sometime this year, several journalists from the Washington Post have joined ESPN's new site, following the move of their former managing editor, Kevin Merida.

The latest is Clinton Yates, who will be The Undefeated's senior writer. Yates has this to say about his move to The Undefeated, when reached for comments by Andrew Beaujon of the Washingtonian: “the thing about being a black writer is that people always add the label to whatever’s being written. I’m hoping to be one of the people, along with the many tremendous voices at the site who can show people that the true depth, complexity and overall fullness of what blackness and thus its writing is about.” - See here:

Kevin Merida, in an interview with the USA Today late last year spoke of the challenge of writing about race: My main thing is you just have to be brave. If we meet high standards for excellence, then I don't worry about the rest.

The Undefeated comes at a time when race is still a contentious issue, when African Americans alongside other minorities are still fighting for equal opportunities, such as owning their own enterprises, having their own media outfit. Segregation? Only for those who limit their understanding of what diversity is truly about from the prism of their own fears and racist attitude.

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Undefeated: ESPN's New Website, Part 1

Brief History of ESPN
On September 7, 1979, the ESPN, was launched. The American sports media network, was founded the year before, by Bill Rasmussen, Ed Eagan, Scott Rasmussen, at a time when such network operating 24/7 was unheard of. Yet, soon after it was launched, there was no stopping ESPN's phenomenal journey to success.

Entrepreneurial daring, irrepressible enthusiasm and a dash of good luck gave America its first 24-hour sports network in 1979. Once unleashed upon sports fans, ESPN’s impact forever changed the way we watch television. See here:

The concept of a 24-hour all-sports network defied imagination, with many at the time predicting its early demise, including the biggest 3 networks:  ABC, CBS and NBC.

Now ESPN has become the world standard for sports television.

Since it was launched, the new sports channel has grown unabated, and its history filled with stories of innovation, expansion and changing of guards.

Fast forward to 2016, and ESPN, a pioneer in round-the-clock- sports broadcasting, has stepped onto unchartered course once again with its 'The Undefeated,' a website it put up solely to be fully run by Black Americans a move towards enriching the diversity in sports media, and promoting the value of inclusion.

The Undefeated, ESPN's Newest Website on Sports, Race and Culture
"The Undefeated" is ESPN' new website on sports, race, and culture which has taken a long time to air since its conceptualization.

Last year, the New York Times reported the site exists in digital limbo. However, reports earlier this year said the new website would go live later this year. After a series of setbacks that included the ousting of founding editor Jason Whitlock, ESPN's site focusing on the intersection of race and sports is primed for a launch in 2016, according to this article.

In a statement, ESPN announced that it had collectively decided to make some structural adjustments that will maximize the skill sets and strengths of our team, leading to the best possible output for the site and for all of ESPN. To that end, Jason Whitlock will now be entirely focused on what he does best: creating distinctive and compelling content, which will live across various ESPN platforms. Jason’s thought-provoking perspective has always been a hallmark of his work and this will allow him to completely devote his time and energy to that.” 

A replacement for Jason Whitlock was announced late last year. The USA Today said in a report Kevin Merida left his prestigious job as the managing editor of The Washington Post in November to lead ESPN’s The Undefeated, a job he says he sees as “an adventure.”

What "The Undefeated" Is About
Here is an excerpt from ESPN's press release announcing Merida as the new chief editor of The Undefeated, which also mentions the direction the new website will take:
Kevin Merida, managing editor at The Washington Post, has been named editor-in-chief for “The Undefeated, ESPN’s upcoming site that will provide in-depth reporting, commentary and insight on race and culture through the lens of sports. Merida will be a senior vice president and responsible for the editorial direction, tone and policies of the site, and provide oversight for key initiatives undertaken by“The Undefeated.” [...]
“I’m excited to join ESPN and to help establish “The Undefeated” as a destination for the most vibrant, provocative, thoughtful work on sports, race and culture in the country,” Merida said. “It will become a home for innovative storytelling, new voices and the exploration of athletes and ideas by writers you’ll want to read.”

The 2nd of this 3-part article will present the main thrust of and ideas behind “The Undefeated.”

Sunday, February 14, 2016

How Cultural Awareness Drives Workplace Diversity

There is nothing like working in a congenial, welcoming, inclusive, safe environment, especially in a diverse, multi-cultural setting. People want to work in a collaborative, supportive atmosphere where personal and professional growth is enjoyed. As an employer, you would want to create such working climate conducive to productivity, creativity and high morale.

Yet conflicts, misunderstandings happen at times because people in the workplace are heterogeneous; they come from different cultural backgrounds, thus have different concepts of people and of the world.

Cultural Differences
To make things more complicated, cultural differences include not only ethnicity, but also
generational or age, gender, education, family background, religious affiliation, time orientation, work ethics, and more. Within one's ethnic culture, differences also exist such as language, ways of doing, learning and interacting.

All these differences contribute to workplace diversity, the fuel that energizes a diversity-driven organization like yours toward success, but which can also lead to your company's doom, if workplace diversity issues, such as discrimination and harassment, are allowed to seep in, pester and destroy one of your firm's pillars: your people.

People differ in the way they think and behave; some are not as sensitive to, or they may lack understanding of others'cultures, so much so that they may or may not intentionally hurt others through their words and actions.

Diversity does not thrive in the soil of alienation, discontent and employees' low morale.

Cultural Awareness: What, Why
Your company may be committed to diversity, and you can have your diversity programs in place with the help of your HR and Diversity team. But how can you be sure each of the people working within embraces diversity and respect the differences they encounter? How can the value of diversity and inclusion become a lived-experience for each of  your staff, from the lowliest position to your top managers?

Have you also deeply reflected on your own cultural biases?

The solution to the challenges of workplace diversity lies in cultural awareness.

Cultural awareness is not assuming that people are generally the same everywhere; it is not assuming that people from the same race or ethnicity share the same culture. It is also not assigning meaning to others' reality through the lens of your own culture.

Cultural awareness is the recognition people are different because they are shaped, informed by their respective cultural values, ideas and beliefs; they see, interpret and evaluate others and the world differently from one another. 

Through cultural awareness, one becomes sensitive in terms of being careful not to offend someone through careless or hurtful words and actions just because someone is different, or  “foreign.”

The cultivation of the skill of cultural awareness leads to an inner transformation in the person, as an understanding, appreciation of others from different cultures takes place.

Therefore, it is essential to include a training program for cultural awareness in your company's diversity initiatives.

How: Levels of Cultural Awareness
According to a paper on the topic co-authored by Stephanie Quappe, the Cologne based founder of Intercultural Change Management and Giovanna Cantatore, a Consultant and Product Manager with the Park
 Li Group, Ltd., there are 4 levels of how people develop cultural awareness.

First stage: Parochial stage – it is the level at which people think their way is the only way of doing things. They do not appreciate the influence of cultural differences.

Second stage: Ethnocentric stage – at this level, people are already aware of other people's ways of doing things, yet they still consider their own way the best one.

Third stage: Synergistic stage – People are aware of their own way as well as others' ways of doing things. At this stage, they choose the better way to deal with the situation. They also recognize cultural differences provide both benefits and problems, but they use cultural diversity to drive the new solutions and alternatives.

Final stage: Participatory stage – People are willing to open their lines of communication and dialogue with someone from a different cultural context to explore new meanings, new rules in order to address the needs of the situation at hand.

Moral Value of Cultural Awareness
As seen from the above-mentioned levels, cultivating cultural awareness, one becomes familiar with new cultural beliefs and practices in others' cultural context, while at the same time becomes more aware of one's own beliefs, values as well as biases and prejudices.

Becoming more culturally sensitive and aware of others' cultural background, people can forge better relationships, meaningful exchanges with co-workers, enhance collaboration and team work, thus boost your company's bottom line.

More than profit, providing employees with an opportunity to learn new values for the common good is a company's social responsibility. Better working relationships, better work performance, greater economic success, yes.

Beyond that, however, is the greater good of establishing peace, unity not only within the confines of the workplace but extending to the communities it serves.

As Peter Drucker once said, “But economic performance is not the only responsibility of a business, any more than educational performance is the only responsibility of a school or health care the only responsibility of a hospital.”

It was also Peter Drucker who reminded us of the Hippocratic oath of the Greek physician: Primum non nocere – that is, “ above all, not knowingly to do harm” – as the first responsibility of a professional. Thus, Drucker wrote in his book on Management: No professional, be he a doctor, lawyer, or manager, can promise that he will indeed do good for his client. All he can do is try. But he can promise that he will not knowingly do harm.”

Thus, by helping inculcate the skill of cultural awareness in your company to lessen or mitigate the problems that come with cultural differences and promote cultural diversity, you are living out your first responsibility as a business professional to not knowingly do harm.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Parkview Health Searching for Medical Social Worker, Fort Wayne, IN

Parkview Health, a not-for-profit, community-based health system serving the northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio region, and a recently-joined prestigious diversity company member of DiversityWorking.com is searching for high-calibre candidates for the position Medical Social Worker, Fort Wayne, IN.

Job Overview and Responsibilities
Assesses patient/family needs in order to effect change in behavior and provide skill building/psycho-educational interventions as requested.
Provides assistance to the multidisciplinary team related to placement, discharge planning, treatment planning, linkage to community resources and crisis intervention.

Job Qualifications (among others)
Master's degree from a school of social work and one (1) years of social work experience in a health care setting.
Must have a current licensure by the State of Indiana Health Professions Bureau as a LCWS/LSW or will be obtained within 6 months of employment.
Minimum of one (1) years' experience in health care with experience in home health care preferred.

For more details about this job and to apply for it, please click on this link.

Job Opening for Registered Nurse, IN, Fort Wayne at Parkview Health

A job opening for Registered Nurse, IN, Fort Wayne is available at Parkview Health, a not-for-profit, community-based health system serving the northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio region, and a recently-joined prestigious diversity company member of DiversityWorking.com.
Job Overview and Responsibilities
  • Independently plans and provides excellent professional nursing care for patients in accordance with physician orders, established hospital and departmental policies and procedures, American Nurses Association Standards of Clinical Practice, Indiana Nurse Practice Act, and the ANA Code of Ethics.
Job Qualifications (among others)
  • Must be a graduate of an accredited ASN or BSN program.
  • Nurses with an ASN must obtain BSN from an accredited program within five years of employment
  • Valid Indiana Registered Nurse license required. Must have current CPR certification.
  • Must be able to lift 50 pounds and assist with 100 pounds.
For more details about this job and to apply for it, click on this link.

Parkview Health Job Opening for Lab Manager, IN, Wabash

Parkview Health, a not-for-profit, community-based health system serving the northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio region, and a recently-joined prestigious diversity company member of DiversityWorking.com, has a job opening for Lab Manager,  IN, Wabash.
Job Overview and Responsibilities
  • Works closely with the rest of the lab management team and the Medical Directors to support quality, cost-effective laboratory services and the growth of the laboratory business.
  • Consistently communicates with and manages the activities of personnel in the section on all shifts.
  • Proactively researches, evaluates and recommends new policies, procedures and instrumentation which provide for improved customer service and cost effectiveness, among other responsibilities.
Job Qualifications (among others)
  • Bachelor of Science degree in Clinical Laboratory Science/Medical technology, Biological Science or related field is required
  • Certification as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist / Medical technologist required, ASCP or NCA.
For more details about this job and to apply for it, click on this link.

DiversityWorking.com Announces Parkvview Health As New Diversity Company Member

DiversityWorking.com, a career opportunity resource and job search engine for the cultural diversity marketplace, is pleased to announce the inclusion of Parkview Health to its list of member diversity companies.

Parkview Health, is a not-for-profit, community-based health system serving the northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio region, and whose mission is to provide quality healthcare services and improve the health of the communities they serve. The company continues to live its heritage of care and compassion, since it was formed in 1995, with eight hospitals and a network of primary care and specialty physicians to serve the communities.

In its continual search for the best diverse talents who have the skills, passion and dedication to serve others, Parkview Health has partnered with DiversityWorking.com, whose mission is to help companies promote their jobs, build their brand and send targeted and qualified diversity candidates directly to the best jobs possible. Products and services include a resume database, job search engine, and targeted corporate diversity branding opportunities.

To find out more about Parkview Health and its job opportunities, please click here.