The American Society of News Editors annual diversity survey showed a continuing decline in the number of journalists of color working for newspapers throughout the United States.
Although newsroom employees overall increased, the percentage of minorities in the newsroom fell .47 percentage points from a year ago to 12.79 percent. It was the third consecutive year in which the percentage of African American, Asian American, Latino and Native American journalists has dropped in U.S. newsrooms.
ASNE has been conducting these surveys since 1978 when it decided to push the industry to have the percentage of journalists of color equal the percentage of people of color in the country. The goal was to achieve parity with the population by the year 2000. However, the percentage of people of color steadily increased from about 25 percent in 1978 to more than 33 percent today. In 1978, minority journalists only held 3.95 percent of the jobs in the news industry.
By 1999, the news industry had only reached about 13 percent minorities in the newsroom. ASNE pushed its parity goal back to 2025.
The annual survey showed that the number of professional journalists rose from an estimated 41,500 in 2009 to 41,600 in 2010. American newsrooms lost 13,500 newsroom jobs from 2007 to 2010.
The ASNE census showed that the minority journalist census fell from 5,500 to 5,300. Having journalists of color in newsrooms increases the likelihood that stories about people of color will be included in newspapers, magazines, wire services and online. The Kerner Commission report after the 1960s riots in part faulted the news media for the unrest because the stories of problems of people of color in the population were not reported and the issues of inequality, poverty and few opportunities that people of color faced were not then being addressed by the larger society.
Minority journalists continue to work at larger newspapers. Minority internships, just like the jobs themselves, also have declined, falling from 27.4 percent last year to 24.4 percent now.
More than 440 newspapers responding to the ASNE census reported that they had no minorities on their full-time staff. That number has been growing since 2006.
The ASNE survey went to 61 online only newspapers. Fifty percent returned their survey forms compared with a more than 59 percent response rate from 1,389 daily newspapers.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch responded to the survey showing that it has a minority journalists staff of 13.4 percent of its newsroom. The Independence Examiner responded showing it has 7.7 percent minority journalists staff. The Kansas City Star was not listed among the newspapers in Missouri or Kansas that responded to the ASNE survey.
KCABJ Vice President/Print Ramanda Hicks reported on several black-owned catering companies that could provide menu items for the 30th anniversary banquet and media awards program for the organization. The event will take place in October.
KCABJ members provided Ramanda with additional possibilities. She will present information about them with a price list at the May meeting.
About 100 people are expected to attend the banquet. It is to function as a fund-raiser for KCABJ. Ramanda said she wanted to send out save the date e-mails to people as well as invitations that KCABJ would provide.
KCABJ has extended the deadline until mid-May for the student journalism academy so that more applications can be received. The academy will run from June 20 through July 1 at Metropolitan Community College – Penn Valley. KCABJ is working with the college so that it will have classroom space and computers for the students. KCABJ member Michelle Johnson and KCABJ secretary Anita Parran agreed to work with Ramanda on the banquet.
NABJ Ends UNITY Tie
The National Association of Black Journalists has severed its relationship with UNITY, Journalists of Color Inc. Part of it is over concerns about UNITY’s ability to deliver financial reports and records in a timely manner. NABJ has been part of UNITY from the beginning. The first UNITY convention took place in 1994, and one has occurred every four years. NABJ had been the largest contributor to UNITY.
News You Can Use
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KCABJ’s membership inched upward with the additions of Sharon Cheers, Catherine Flowers, April Jackson and Markl Johnson.
KCABJ journalism academy graduate Ann Langworthy reports that she started working for Young & Rubicam as an assistant global director for the team covering the Hills Pet Nutrition account.