Philadelphia Magazine Responds to the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists, Announces Diversity Initiatives

PABJ called for editor Tom McGrath's resignation late last week. Today we are publishing his response and a company-wide diversity plan.

In the wake of the recent controversy over Philadelphia magazine’s October 2015 cover and the lack of diversity of its staff, the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists issued a statement last Friday afternoon calling on editor Tom McGrath to resign (third item).

This morning, McGrath sent the following letter to PABJ’s president stating his intention to remain in his post to oversee the implementation of a series of immediate and long-term diversity initiatives the company is announcing today.

October 7, 2015

Cherri Gregg, Esq.
Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists

Dear Ms. Gregg,

Late last Friday afternoon I was made aware of your organization’s call for me to step down from my position as editor of Philadelphia magazine in light of the magazine’s October cover image and the lack of diversity within our editorial staff.

As I relayed to the editorial staff earlier this week, I have no plans to resign. My intention is to stay and make the changes I referred to in a post published on our website last week.

Over the last week, company management has met to discuss ways to further diversify our company. Additionally, I’ve had many conversations with members of the editorial team about the issue.

As a first step, we’ve put together the following initiatives. While we continue to solicit feedback to this plan from people both inside and outside our company, I wanted to share with you the steps we’re currently planning to take. (The document below will be available for the public to see at, where it will be updated as our plan evolves.)

Metro Corp Diversity Initiatives
Metro Corp., the publisher of Boston and Philadelphia magazines, desires to provide a work environment that embraces diversity and inclusion. This not only reflects our values, but is essential to achieving our business goals and keeping our company strong.

We are committed to creating an environment in which all employees feel included, are treated with dignity and respect and are in a position to contribute to our success. As a media company, we have a special obligation to the people in our respective communities not only to employ staff who represent the diverse and rich cultures in our regions, but also to provide content to our audience that reflects and engages those cultures.

In order to achieve our goals, Metro Corp. has established certain initiatives, including the following:

Diversity Training

  • Metro Corp. has engaged an outside company to hold diversity training for all mid-level and above managers on a regular basis, beginning in the fall of 2015.
  • Metro Corp. will provide training and awareness programs for all employees regarding a diverse work environment.
  • New employees will receive diversity training as part of the onboarding process.

Recruitment and Hiring

  • As a start, one additional person of color will be added to the Philadelphia magazine editorial staff in the fall of 2015.
  • Metro Corp will have at least one person of color as part of its senior editorial staffs in each city as soon as resources and staffing allow, with a goal of accomplishing this within approximately one year (end of 2016).
  • All job postings will run through our HR department and follow a consistent standardized process designed to ensure that the postings attract a pool of diverse candidates.
  • Minority candidates will be interviewed for any and all open positions.

Talent Cultivation

  • Beginning in 2016, a summer fellowship for low-income college students will be established in each city (Boston and Philadelphia) for both the editorial and business departments. The goal of the fellowship program will be to develop students who are interested in pursuing journalistic, sales or marketing careers in the media business.


  • The company recognizes the value and importance of engaging the diverse populations of our regions in our editorial coverage.

Diversity Committee

  • A diversity committee, made up of staff from both offices as well as people outside the company, will meet four times a year and update Executive Management on the company’s diversity efforts and opportunities.
  • The committee shall be responsible for making recommendations to Executive Management for updating the company’s Diversity Policy and/or commitments.

We take seriously the issues raised by you and others in the last week and look forward to making significant progress on them in the weeks and months ahead.


Tom McGrath