As part of the publisher’s Race Action Plan, the newly created role focusses on improving diversity in both editorial staff and coverage
Harker will proactively drive The Guardian’s diversity and inclusion within its editorial department, ensuring the newsroom adheres to the news brand’s diversity action plans.
He will also work with external stakeholders and provide input on staff training.
Formerly a managing editor for the features department, Harker currently works as deputy editor and a columnist for The Guardian’s opinion section.
He was involved in the creation of the publisher’s diversity and inclusion editorial strategy and has run the Positive Action Scheme to support aspiring and diverse new journalists.
Harker also helped devise The Guardian’s first Black History Month timeline posters in 2008, refreshed in 2020 as a wallchart series in light of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Before joining The Guardian in 1992, Harker was editor and publisher of weekly newspaper Black Briton and an assistant editor of The Voice.
Speaking about his new role, Harker said: “The Guardian has made huge strides on diversity in the last few years, but no one would disagree that there’s a lot more to do.
“The new role will allow us to make significant progress in attracting and representing new voices – covering Britain and the world through the eyes of people with a wide variety of perspectives and life experiences.
My goal is to make everyday inclusion a reality – and in so doing make the Guardian even more informative and outward looking, and an even better publication for all our audience.”
Editor-in-chief Katherine Viner added: “Joseph is an editor with excellent judgement and deep experience of these issues in the news industry over many years.
“I’m delighted he will take on this important new role at the Guardian, ensuring we continue to move forward with our diversity action plans and reflect the communities we serve.”