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Quasar Award: Turner Cited For Advancing Diversity

4/14/2006 8:00 PM Eastern

The cable industry as a whole has made significant strides over the years when it comes to diversifying its executive ranks, but few individual companies have ever been listed among DiversityInc. magazine's prestigious annual “Top 50 Companies for Diversity.”

That changed last year. In its first year of participation, Turner Broadcasting System Inc. ranked second among 203 companies from various industries around the U.S. with regards to diversity, from recruiting people of color and working with minority vendors to showcasing minorities onscreen through its various cable networks.

Turner's adherence to the issue of diversity has earned the company NAMIC's Quasar Award, presented to entities in the cable and telecommunications arena for their achievements in advancing the cause of diversity over the past year.

Turner's list of diversity accomplishments in 2005 was impressive, according to the magazine. Of its highest-paid employees, 15% are people of color. Of its new hires during the year, nearly half were women.

On the business side, Turner has employed an aggressive supplier-diversity program, with 6% of its outside vending budget spent with minority- and women-owned suppliers, according to DiversityInc.

On screen, Turner's cable networks have taken steps to diversify their talent. Cable News Network's on-air news anchors and analysts now include people of color such as Soledad O'Brien and political pundit Carlos Watson, said the magazine.

On the entertainment side, Turner Network Television is one of the highest-ranked networks among African-American viewers. TNT has also reached out to minority audiences with original fare such as its 2005 Native-American-themed miniseries Into The West.

“Throughout the years, Turner Broadcasting has been recognized as a leader in corporate diversity management,” said NAMIC National president Manish Jha, who's also senior vice president and general manager, ESPN Mobile. “We are proud to honor Turner Broadcasting as this year's Quasar Award recipient.”

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