Newsrooms Lack Diversity
Blacks and Asians are losing jobs in America's newsrooms at a faster rate than Whites and other minorities, setting back progress made in decades of diversity initiatives. The American Society of News Editors' (ASNE) annual newsroom census revealed that America's newsrooms became less diverse in 2008 from the year before.
The percentage of journalists of color in the nation's newsrooms dropped from 13.5% in 2007 to 13.4% in 2008. The percentage of journalists of color in supervisory positions also declined, from 11.4% in 2007 to 11.2% in 2008 despite UNITY-led efforts to influence minority retention rates in newsroom management. The biggest losers were Blacks and Asians, who saw a 13.6% and a 13.4% decline in newsroom employment respectively, compared to a decline by 11.3% overall.
UNITY: Journalists of Color is calling journalism organizations to a summit to help preserve the fundamental value of diversity in news coverage and newsroom staffing. "Industry layoffs affect people of color disproportionately and destroy the gains we have made during past years," said Rafael Olmeda, UNITY president. UNITY is a strategic alliance of four national associations representing more than 10,000 journalists of color. "The small two-percentage point increase in online journalists of color is the one encouraging point in the results."
Olmeda said, "It is disheartening that the vision articulated by ASNE is still such a distant goal after years of benchmarks, committees and commitments. We appreciate ASNE's continued diligence in reporting these results annually and urge them to partner with us on concrete steps to reduce the enormous gap between the reality and the vision. We need to act now."