Source: Riva Gold / The Atlantic
The American Society of News Editors (ASNE) recently released its annual study of newsroom diversity. The results only confirmed what many who have lived through the industry’s deep recession have already experienced: a steady decline in minority journalists and stagnation in prior progress. Despite claims by news organizations that they value and promote diversity, the numbers in this year’s study show 90 percent of newsroom supervisors from participating news organizations were white.
At a time when non-whites make up roughly 37 percent of the U.S. population, the percentage of minorities in the newsroom has fallen to 12.37 percent from its 13.73 percent high in 2006. In last year’s 2012 ASNE study, overall newsroom employment was down 2.4 percent, but the picture looked much worse – down 5.7 percent – for minorities.
This means that fewer minorities are getting the opportunity to work in news, and news organizations are losing their ability to empower , represent, –and especially in cases where language ability is crucial, even to report on minority populations in their communities.
Why have minorities been disproportionately hit by the state of the media industry? Two dozen industry leaders I talked to in recent months point to a series of mostly cost-saving decisions at papers across the country that had unintended consequences.