Publisher’s Note: From Many Voices

RIM's publisher, John Palumbo, introduces the February issue.
Pub Note 2020
Meaghan Susi

Many of us in the regional magazine industry have been to countless conferences and webinars where experts and colleagues have emphasized that a successful local publishing entity needs to reflect the essence of the community it serves. February is Black History Month and with the heightened awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement, it is only appropriate to note that we are listening, we are trying, and you need to hold us accountable when we fall short.

Diversity is a high priority for our editors, art directors and our entire staff. We are proud to have won seventeen Michael J. Metcalf Awards for Diversity in the Media, recognizing “journalism that engages, inspires and empowers,” from the Rhode Island for Community and Justice organization. These awards are judged by local journalists and community leaders well-versed on the topic.

Do a bunch of plaques on a wall make us perfect? Absolutely not.

A couple of readers took us to task about lack of diversity in our “Faces of Rhode Island” advertising section in our December issue. While these were ads with content (meaning individuals featured in the ads) dictated by the businesses that purchased them, did we intentionally ignore minority-owned businesses? Of course not. Readers who are interested in learning more about Black-owned businesses should read a piece by writer Theresa Brown and associate editor Jamie Coelho on restaurants, catering companies, health and wellness businesses, shops and more owned by Black Rhode Islanders. It was published on in June of 2020 and updated for the September 2020 print issue.

One reader observed that the page in the same “Faces” section featuring our majority-female staff contained twenty Caucasian faces. Is that intentional? Certainly not. Over the years, we have had employees of color who moved on to other opportunities. As a small business with little employee turnover, adding staff members is rare. When we do, we will continue to work hard, as we always have, to recruit people of color to apply.

Lastly, on a lighter note, over these past ten months takeout has been more prevalent than ever. So, in this issue, associate editor and food maven Jamie Coelho has pulled together the cover feature on dozens of places that offer menus and creative cocktails to go, helmed by Rhode Islanders from all backgrounds, because takeout — like the state as a whole — is better with diversity at the table.
To the Rhode ahead. –J.J.P.