Jin Ding, an experienced journalism fundraiser, has joined the Center for Public Integrity’s leadership team as chief of staff, part of a strategy of hiring that has transformed one of the oldest investigative newsrooms into an organization whose staff is majority people of color.
Public Integrity’s transformation is part of a deliberate culture shift designed to create journalism that connects with diverse communities and resonates with the young audiences who are journalism’s future, said Public Integrity CEO Paul Cheung.
“We’re building a culture of journalism that’s done in partnership with the communities we cover. I’m convinced that’s where our next Pulitzer is going to come from,” Cheung said.
Ding comes to Public Integrity from The Associated Press, where they co-managed AP’s fundraising efforts and maintained relationships with funders. Last year at the AP, Jin raised more than $3 million for inclusive journalism, education, climate, and investigative journalism and managed the relationship between funders and various editorial departments at the AP.
Ding is also the current elected vice president of finance for the Asian American Journalists Association, where they work with the association’s executive director and CFO on a range of financial oversights such as fundraising policies to setting annual budgets to endowment planning. Prior to AP, Jin managed a portfolio of journalism grants at The International Women’s Media Foundation and was the communications and inclusion manager at the Pulitzer Center and a research and marketing analyst for NBC Sports.
“I’ve built paths for news organizations to better understand their audiences, leverage diverse perspectives, strengthen resource pipelines, and empower communities,” Ding said. “It is my honor to join an inclusive newsroom that is countering America’s inequality issues through powerful investigative journalism.”
Two decades of diversity initiatives in the news industry have had mixed results, with numerous journalists of color reporting that their hiring didn’t change the top-down culture that undervalued their experience. Cheung – the child of immigrants who operated a Chinese restaurant in the New York area – is determined to do things differently.
Public Integrity won Pulitzers in 2014 and 2017, and its investigative reporting has led to wide-ranging impact, including numerous law and government and business policy changes. With the latest hires, people of color make up more than half of both the organization’s overall staff and newsroom and 37% of leadership. Women make up more than 70% of leadership. In 2016, Public Integrity’s staff was 85% white.
“Witnessing Public Integrity’s shift in culture gives me a strong sense of optimism about the future of journalism,” said Audience Engagement Editor Ashley Clarke, co-chair of Public Integrity’s staff Diversity Committee and an elected representative of the Public Integrity union. “I feel honored to be a part of an organization that not only sees the value in hiring journalists from diverse backgrounds, but also sees the value in investing in us and making sure we are represented in leadership roles.”
Founded in 1989, Public Integrity is an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit news organization dedicated to investigating systems and circumstances that contribute to inequality in the United States. Last year, the organization received widespread recognition for investigations including Hidden Epidemics, a series that revealed the unequal impact of climate change on communities, and Hidden Hardships, which showed how the migrant agricultural workers who produce the country’s food supply were unable to access COVID-19 economic and health protections.
The new season of Public Integrity’s Ambie Award-winning podcast, “The Heist,” confronts a centuries-long injustice: the propagation of the enormous wealth gap between Black and white Americans, and how a tenacious and entrepreneurial woman in Iowa is fighting back using the tools of the banking systems that helped perpetuate it.
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