Insights of a Social Media Journalist
Written by WWCode HQ
Salvador Rodriguez is a tech reporter for the San Francisco Bureau of CNBC. He covers Facebook and social media. Rodriguez has previously covered the tech industry for Reuters, Inc. Magazine, the International Business Times, and the Los Angeles Times, and he has contributed pieces to Vice, Digital Trends, and the Federal Times, among others.
Women Who Code had a chance to speak with Sal and ask him about his work and how he felt the tech industry was handling issues like diversity and inclusion.
Tell us about your day to day responsibilities at CNBC?
My responsibilities at CNBC are to cover the social media market. That means I primarily focus on Facebook and its numerous services, including Instagram and WhatsApp. I also cover Twitter, Snap, Pinterest, and, these days, TikTok. My coverage includes writing up breaking news, reporting deeply-investigated stories, and appearing on video to offer my expertise for our broadcast and digital video colleagues.
What stories are you most interested in covering?
Nothing piques my interest more than when I get a tip about the latest happenings inside of Facebook. In the past, these tips have lead me to scoops about products the company is working on or inside stories about the way the company operates.
What is your take on the state of diversity, equity, and inclusion in technology today?
The tech industry’s commitment to diversity and inclusion has been reinvigorated in 2020 like we have not seen since 2014, which was the year many companies began reporting the gender and ethnic breakdowns of their workforces. Unfortunately, those diversity reports have hardly changed in that six-year period. Whether those renewed commitments made in 2020 will have more success remains to be seen.
Why do you believe that’s the case?
Tech companies talk a lot about their commitment to diversity and they like to showcase this commitment whenever they can at events such as San Francisco Pride, but often those words and imagery prove to have little action behind them. Since tech companies first began publishing diversity reports in 2014, the representation of women and minorities, in particular, has risen very little.
What solutions do you see that can be done to address this problem?
One recent solution that could pan out is tying executives’ pay to their work on diversity and inclusion. This is a new action that Facebook recently began talking with their executives, as I reported in July. It would be interesting to see the impact this could have across Silicon Valley if more tech companies followed suit.
Sal’s position as a social media reporter gives him a unique perspective on the tech industry, which unfortunately shows an all too familiar landscape lacking in diversity, and largely unchanged from 6 years ago. But it is his belief that by tying corporate accountability to diversity, it is possible to correct this issue and work towards a tech that is more inclusive of all.