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While diversity in newsrooms is stagnating, not plummeting, there are still concerns

July 16, 2013

By Anna Li

The news industry’s cost-cutting techniques during the financial crisis have slowed diversity growth in newsrooms: That’s the argument Riva Gold, a graduate of Stanford’s journalism program, makes in a recent Atlantic article.

In its most recent survey, the American Society of News Editors found 90 percent of newsroom supervisors are white. White men were also most likely to appear on broadcast networks and CNN, according to Media Matters.

Although the 2013 census wasn’t available when she interviewed her sources, Gold said the latest numbers show little change in minority employment in the news industry this year.

Her article presented findings from the 2012 ASNE census, which reported minority employment at daily newspapers dropped 5.7 percent compared to general newsroom employment, which was down 2.4 percent. The 2013 census shows minorities make up 12.37 percent of employees at daily newspapers compared to 12.32 percent in 2012.

The percentage of minority employment has stayed consistently between 12 to 14 percent in the last decade. “It’s not an enormous downward trend,” said Gold, who I graduated with at Stanford. “But the point is, it’s supposed to have gone up. When numbers don’t move, it’s either stagnation or regression relative to minorities in the U.S. population.”

Considering minorities make up about 37 percent of the U.S. population, Gold said diversity organizations were falling short of their goals for parity. ASNE had “set a goal of staff parity with America’s minority population by the year 2000,” according to Nieman Reports. This year’s numbers show the news industry isn’t even halfway there. “We’re nowhere near as diverse as an industry as we predicted we would be by this point in time,” Gold said by phone. Read the rest of the story at Poynter.

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