PBS Announces the Network Will Enact New Measures to 'Reflect our Country and the Diversity of It'


PBS is taking steps toward comprehensive change to be overseen by a new executive hired for the task, CEO and President Paula Kerger said.

While the measures took into account allegations that PBS favors white male filmmaker Ken Burns (“The Civil War,” “Baseball”) and slights “viewers of color,” Kerger said, they emerged from a deeper reappraisal prompted by the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in 2020.

“I think these are important moments to pause and to look at ourselves very carefully,” Kerger said.

While public broadcasting has a “long legacy of attempting to reflect our country and the diversity of it, I think we don’t always look as carefully in the mirror and recognize that there may be areas where we are not doing our best.”

Cecilia Loving joined PBS on Monday as senior vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, reporting to Kerger.

Hunter Biden May Have Just Ratted Out Joe, Acknowledges Identity of the 'Big Guy' in $5M China Deal

Loving has been serving as a deputy commissioner and chief diversity officer for the New York City Fire Department.

“My goal is to build upon PBS’s strong foundation through transparency, trust, and ongoing collaboration with employees and key stakeholders across the public media system,” Loving said in a statement.

Kerger also announced a “multi-year, multimillion-dollar commitment” to support the work of “underrepresented” filmmakers through the nonprofit Firelight Media and its Groundwork Regional Lab.

According to the group’s website, the lab supports “diverse, emerging documentary filmmakers living and working” in the U.S and U.S.-controlled territories.

Is PBS wrong to push diversity this way?

The effort will put 40 fledgling filmmakers in partnership with local PBS stations, Kerger said during a virtual Q&A session Tuesday with TV critics

Last year, Kerger said she “respectfully disagreed” with criticism from filmmaker Grace Lee, who had argued in an essay for the Ford Foundation that public TV’s deep attachment to Burns represents one white man’s “lens on America” at the expense of “people of color.”

Other filmmakers built on Lee’s criticism after Kerger’s response.

On Tuesday, Kerger said her understanding of how PBS approaches diversity has grown since those remarks, based on conversations with the filmmakers and what she called a variety of stakeholders.

Under criteria to be applied across PBS broadcast and digital platforms, producers now must provide a “diversity, equity and inclusion” plan for every agreement and series renewal.

American Women's Team Punished for Trying to Deceive Race Organizers

In addition, diverse representation must be factored in all aspects of hiring, the service said.

There will be mandated accountability reporting.

PBS highlighted the intended effect on PBS Kids’ programming and its mission. Creators will be asked to describe how their shows will give all American children the chance to ”see their lived experiences reflected and celebrated through authentic stories and smart, funny characters.”

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , , , , ,
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City