Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot infuriated the local press corps when she declared she would grant interviews to Black and brown reporters only.
In a letter to the local media, Lightfoot announced her office's new interview policy.
"By now, you may have heard the news that on the occasion of the two-year anniversary of my inauguration as Mayor of this great City, I will be exclusively providing one-on-one interviews with journalists of color."
"As the first Black woman mayor of Chicago, and the first openly gay mayor, my election in 2019 was hailed for breaking barriers to the halls of power that had existed in our city for generations. I ran to break up the status quo that has failed so many residents across our city.... I have been struck since the first day on the campaign trail back in 2018 by the overwhelming whiteness and maleness of Chicago media outlets, editorial boards, the political press corps, and yes, the City Hall press corps specifically."
Lightfoot then ordered private media companies to "hire reporters of color—and specifically women of color—to cover Chicago politics, and City Hall in particular."
In a series of tweets, she continued:
"This is exactly why I'm being intentional about prioritizing media requests from [people of color] reporters on the occasion of the two-year anniversary of my inauguration as mayor of this great city... It's time for the newsrooms to do better and build teams that reflect the make-up of our city."
The local news media -- comprised of mostly whites -- howled in protest, but Lightfoot did not back down.
I ran to break up the status quo that was failing so many. That isn't just in City Hall.
It's a shame that in 2021, the City Hall press corps is overwhelmingly White in a city where more than half of the city identifies as Black, Latino, AAPI or Native American.
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) May 19, 2021
A Hispanic reporter criticized Lightfoot for discriminating against his colleagues:
"I am a Latino reporter @chicagotribune whose interview request was granted for today. However, I asked the mayor’s office to lift its condition on others and when they said no, we respectfully canceled. Politicians don’t get to choose who covers them."