CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — As she approaches the 2nd anniversary of her inauguration, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday that she would only grant interviews to journalists of color to mark the occasion.
Lightfoot said the reason was because the city’s press corps is “overwhelmingly White in a city where more than half of the city identifies as Black, Latino, AAPI or Native American.”
“Diversity and inclusion is imperative across all institutions including media. In order to progress we must change,” she continued. “This is exactly why I’m being intentional about prioritizing media requests from POC reporters on the occasion of the two-year anniversary of my inauguration as mayor of this great city.”
Chicago Tribune reporter Gregory Pratt was among those criticizing the decision.
“I am a Latino reporter @chicagotribune whose interview request was granted for today,” he tweeted. “However, I asked the mayor’s office to lift its condition on others and when they said no, we respectfully canceled.
“Politicians don’t get to choose who covers them,” Pratt said.
According to WMAQ, Lightfoot sent a letter to Chicago media outlets to “ensure” journalists understood her “thinking behind that decision.”
“In the time since I was elected, our country has faced an historic reckoning around systemic racism,” Lightfoot said. “In looking at the absence of diversity across the City Hall press corps and other newsrooms, sadly it does not appear that many of the media institutions in Chicago have caught on and truly have not embraced this moment.”
Lightfoot continued that she had noted an “overwhelming whiteness and maleness of Chicago media outlets, editorial boards, the political press corps, and yes, the City Hall press corps specifically.”
She then went on to say that news organizations should hire more “reporters of color — and especially women of color.”