Letrell Deshan Crittenden

Letrell Deshan Crittenden is API’s Director of Inclusion and Audience Growth. In this role, he builds upon API’s work in the area of organizational and cultural change and deepens the organization’s focus on diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

Dr. Crittenden is the creator of the Assessing Diversity and Inclusion in News Ecosystems rubric, which allows for a systemic look at the challenges news organizations face and offers opportunities to look at the goals of DEI/B from many different facets.

Dr. Crittenden joined API from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, where he was program director and assistant professor of communication. He specializes in issues related to diversity and inclusion in news and community-engaged journalism. At Jefferson, he ​​helped revamp the program’s curriculum and served as the inaugural Diversity Advocate for the College of Humanities and Sciences. For his efforts inside and outside the classroom, he received the university’s 2021 Provost’s Award for Service to the Profession. He has also been a fellow with the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University and the Media and Inequality Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Crittenden earned his Ph.D. in communication from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His doctoral dissertation focused on the history of the National Association of Black Journalists, of which he is a member.

Prior to his academic career, Dr. Crittenden was a police and government reporter and is a veteran practitioner of community journalism. He is editor and co-researcher for the Germantown Info Hub, a collaboration with Temple University designed to provide better news coverage of the city’s Germantown neighborhood. He has also consulted for API on diversity-related issues as part of our community listening work.

How the creator of API’s Inclusion Index wants to improve coverage of communities of color

One moment years ago remains influential in my thinking about issues of diversity and inclusion inside and outside of the newsroom. In the hallway of an upstate New York courthouse, a local Black pastor came up to me. What he told me was quite jarring. “Man, you’re a racist,” he told me. I was dumbfounded. […]