The complaints against WAMU managing editor Zuri Berry came from staffers over an 11 month span. The human resources division of American University, licensee of WAMU, is investigating the allegations against Berry. The station’s management has reassigned Berry’s reporters to other editors.
Three woman of color journalists who left WAMU’s newsroom since January last year told Current that Berry’s actions towards them prompted them to leave. They also noted that despite receiving mild warnings, Berry did not change his behavior. Five women of color in total have left WAMU since January 2019. One of those reporters and another WAMU employee said they complained to human resources about Berry. Current’s request to interview Berry and other top executives at the station was declined. Berry also did not get back to Current when the publication reached out to him directly for comment.
Current did obtain an email that Berry sent to newsroom staff where he apologized and said he had talked with HR about the complaints. “As someone who has always believed themselves to be an advocate for journalists of color, who has recruited and developed young journalists, and has served in multiple capacities as a spokesman and as a champion for diversity, my failures are embarrassing,” Berry wrote in the email. “I regret not doing more to retain the women of color in our newsroom and for contributing to a culture that valued productivity over people.”