Diversity in the entertainment industry has been the biggest story in Hollywood this year, and the Los Angeles Times harnessed all its digital storytelling might to frame the issue in a compelling way for readers.
Although lack of diversity is not new, the issue was brought to the forefront when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced its Oscar nominations Jan. 14. For the second year in a row, all 20 nominees in the acting categories were white. That fact informed every aspect of our awards season coverage, and we had dozens of stories, graphics and other elements addressing the controversy.
Our first-day coverage included an interactive graphic that allowed readers to click on the nominees in acting and directing and learn what our critics had to say about each.
Along with covering news developments and producing enterprise, including a great piece on the long-forgotten “Black Oscars,” we teamed our film reporters with The Times’ Data Desk and graphics department to do a major update of our groundbreaking 2012 report that for the first time detailed how the academy was dominated by older, white men. This was a major undertaking, made more difficult by the academy’s refusal to provide its own membership figures. It was accompanied by this Q&A with the academy president that was enhanced by graphics and a robust presentation online.
The Oscars were handed out Feb. 28, but our coverage of Hollywood’s diversity problem continued. Some in the academy have claimed that there are not enough qualified women and people of color to diversify the academy’s ranks. To test that thesis, we conducted a survey of our own – interviewing entertainment industry insiders, film festival organizers and others to come up with the names of 100 people who could help make the academy look more like America.
In sum, the coverage reflects The Times’ commitment to using its online tools and visual storytelling to bring the most significant stories to our readers. We are proud to submit this work to the Online News Assn. for its consideration.