More Than Just the Right Thing to Do

Sep 14, 2008  •  Post A Comment

At the 2008 Walter Kaitz Foundation fundraising dinner in New York Wednesday, the Scripps Networks will be honored with the Diversity Champion Award, recognizing the cable company’s commitment to diversity in its daily operations and its cultural DNA.
“Our approach goes well beyond embracing diversity simply because it is the right thing to do, which it happens to be,” said John Lansing, president of Scripps Networks, whose channels include Food Network, HGTV, DIY, GAC and Fine Living.
“We see it as a vital and sustained business imperative that gives the company a competitive advantage in a global marketplace,” he said. “We are serving an increasingly diverse audience with programming authentically created by employees who mirror our multi-ethnic, multicultural customer base. By harnessing the knowledge and ideas derived from our differences, we are able to achieve our business objectives by providing relevant and meaningful content for our viewers and online users.”
According to Scripps Networks Executive VP of Human Resources Chris Powell, diversity is part of Scripps business strategy. “That just makes sense in an evolving marketplace—you are able to develop a recruitment and hiring philosophy that very naturally embraces diversity. The result is a culture that attracts and retains people who bring differences to the table, as well as those who demonstrate an openness of character to embrace and capitalize on those differences, all with the common goal of bringing value to Scripps Networks, its partners and its audiences.”
Scripps Networks hasn’t just talked diversity; it created a formal diversity committee in 2002. Comprised of the company’s top executives, to ensure the topic receives attention from the key decision-makers, it includes other employees from various levels, functions and locations throughout the company.
“The diversity committee has driven several key initiatives to enhance diversity and inclusion at Scripps, including multiple research studies to measure the diversity represented in the on-air and online content and the addition of diversity-related performance goals for senior management,” said Cindy McConkey, senior VP of corporate communications.
Community outreach is one tool Scripps employs to support and encourage diversity. “We have formal partnerships with Hampton University, a historically black university, and with Florida International University, where we lend our expertise as guest lecturers, as well as provide real-world experience for students through internships,” Ms. McConkey said.
Looking into the future, Scripps Networks will continue to incorporate diversity in front of and behind the camera and in all forms of new media. “Generally, the company is focused on continuing to be the dominant media and marketing company in the home, food and lifestyle categories,” Ms. McConkey said.
“Scripps’ brands provide relevant ideas, information and entertainment to a passionate audience. While TV programming is the foundation of this dynamic company, today Scripps Networks delivers content across multiple media platforms—the Internet, satellite radio, books, magazines, in-store and the latest mobile and emerging media—to provide value to media distributors, advertisers and consumers.”


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