The Intercept’s 2020 Annual Staff Demographic Survey

Having an understanding of our staff’s demographic profile is key as we seek to further diversify our newsroom.

Following extensive discussions about diversity and inclusion in our newsroom, The Intercept decided to conduct a comprehensive demographic survey of our staff.

The survey, which consisted of 16 questions sent to all 53 full-time U.S. employees, was conducted in March 2020 and will be repeated annually. Voluntary and anonymous, the survey was completed by 98 percent of newsroom employees.*

Having an understanding of our staff’s demographic profile is key as we seek to further diversify our newsroom, and the annual survey will help provide a benchmark for ongoing diversity initiatives at The Intercept. According to the survey results, 58 percent of our staff identify as white and 34 percent identify as people of color, with the remainder declining to self-identify. Our long-term goal is to increase the percentage of people of color in the newsroom to 50 percent. We also want to increase the number of staff members who come from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.

To achieve those goals, we have launched a broad effort to encourage diverse candidates to apply for open positions. Internally, we’ve recently made a number of changes and commitments, including incorporating diversity work in job descriptions of current staff; ensuring that employees have a clear path to career advancement within The Intercept; and considering an employee’s contributions to diversity efforts in performance reviews.

This survey also offers a snapshot of the demographic differences between members of The Intercept Union and non-union employees, which include both management and non-management staff. At the time of this survey, a total of 21 staffers were non-union Intercept employees, including all of The Intercept’s managers and two non-managers.

In 2018, as part of The Intercept’s collective bargaining agreement with the union representing our employees, Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), The Intercept adopted practices referred to as the “double Rooney Rule,” requiring that at least two candidates from underrepresented groups — including women, people of color, and those identifying as LGBTQ+ — be interviewed for all open positions. The demographic survey and the creation of a committee tasked with discussing diversity and inclusion efforts were also products of the union agreement. Members of our newsroom have attended conferences such as NAHJ (National Association of Hispanic Journalists), NAJA (Native American Journalists Association), and NABJ (National Association of Black Journalists) with the goal of raising our visibility among journalists of color. In the wake of these and other efforts, roughly half of the open positions at The Intercept since 2018 have been filled by people of color.

Nonetheless, The Intercept recognizes it must do more to address systemic inequalities outside and inside the newsroom. In light of the global protests following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the conversation around equity and representation in the newsroom has become even more urgent. In order to meet our goal of building a newsroom that is 50 percent people of color, with a special emphasis on increasing Black representation on staff, we need to go above and beyond our past efforts and make diversifying our newsroom a core commitment we pursue with the same vigor and determination that we bring to our mission-driven journalism.

* We may have received a duplicate submission so there is a small margin of error.


The responses to our annual anonymous survey are being presented as percentages in three categories: union members, non-union employees, and total staff. All questions offered the option “prefer not to say.” Some questions also allowed responders to fill in individual answers; these answers will not be made public in order to protect the anonymity of responders.


Of all staffers, 41% are female, and women are a slight majority (51.60%) among members of The Intercept Union. Overall, 3.8% of The Intercept staff identifies as nonbinary, and another 3.8% of our newsroom chose to not answer this question. At the time the survey was completed, no one at The Intercept identified as transgender, and 7.60% of the newsroom chose to not answer the question.


Most Intercept employees (36%) are in the 30-to-39 age range, and 27% of our employees are in the next age bracket: from 40 to 49 years old. A total of 7.60% of our staff chose to not answer this question.

Race and Ethnicity

The chart below represents the racial and ethnic breakdown of all Intercept staffers. No one at The Intercept identifies as Native American or as Hawaiian and Pacific Islander.


The chart below features data on 11.30% of the staff who answered the race and ethnicity question with “two or more.” Those who did not choose that specific answer were asked to answer this question with “not applicable.”

Sexual Orientation

A total of 11.30% of The Intercept staff identities as LGBPQA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Pansexual, Queer, or Asexual).


A majority of The Intercept staff attended public high schools (54.7%), and about half obtained their bachelor’s degrees at private institutions (50.9%).

Among employees, 28.3% have master’s degrees, and 13.2% were first-generation college students.


A total of 22.64% of our staff are first-generation immigrants, and 26.43% have parents who are immigrants.


• 35.85% of full-time Intercept employees have worked at First Look Media, The Intercept’s parent company, between three and four years, and 24.53% of our staff have been with the company for more than five years. 16.98% have been with the company between one and two years, and another 15.09% of our staffers have been Intercept employees for less than one year; 7.55% chose to not answer this question.

• Among employees, 5.66% identify as having a disability, while another 5.66% chose to not answer this question.

• A third of Intercept employees (33.96%) have worked in journalism between one and five years, while 26.42% have between six and 10 years of experience in newsrooms. Another 16.98% of our newsroom have worked in journalism between 11 and 20 years; 18.87% have more than 21 years of experience; and 3.77% of our staff have one year or less of experience.

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