Former Roll Call Editor Spills Beans About Questionable Racial Hiring Practices

UPDATE: Roll Call Editorial Director Mike Mills Responds.

Roll Call’s former Features Editor Debra Bruno (a.k.a. Bebbie Druno) is bound to burn a few bridges today with a story in the Opinion Pages of The Christian Science Monitor about hiring practices at CQ Roll Call. As the former internship coordinator, Bruno, now a Beijing-based journo, had memories of conducting Facebook searches to better inform her about a potential intern’s race.

An excerpt:

“Ahead of the Supreme Court hearing on affirmative action, I recall how at Roll Call newspaper, I was told that one of our three interns had to be from a racial minority. Diversity is important, but giving someone an advantage beyond his experience degrades the applicant and the hirer.”

In her piece, Bruno says CQ Roll Call‘s current Editorial Director Mike Mills denies such a practice existed, but she claims it did — first in 2009 and again in 2010.

We reached out to CQ Roll Call for comment and are awaiting their response. UPDATE: At 3:30 p.m. the publication’s publicist replied with a quote from Mills. He said, “Ms. Bruno is wrong. Our policy is to strive to bring in as many candidates fromdiverse backgrounds as possible, not to tip the scale in anyone’s favor. Her allegation does a disservice to the many employees who were hired during her tenure.”

Bruno also found a way to find humor in a practice she despised…

“Occasionally, the process got clumsy and almost funny: Once, I assumed from the spelling of a name an ethnicity that wasn’t there. Sometimes a intern from a racial or ethnic minority was from a private-school, privileged background that seemed to defeat the purpose of giving advantages to those who might not otherwise have them. Another time a young man announced to me on the last day of his internship that he was biracial. Who knew? Who cared?”

Read the full story here.