Archive for November, 2018

KCABJ Newsletter for November 2018
November 18, 2018

KCABJ Members

KCABJ members at the November meeting decided to skip holding the December meeting and regroup in January.

Members also decided that because of continuing poor attendance at the monthly meetings to consider at the January meeting whether KCABJ should continue to exist. The question was raised about a half-dozen years ago at a membership meeting at the Lucile H. Bluford Branch Library. Members at that time decided to continue the organization because of its need to represent black journalists in the news media, which is part of KCABJ’s original charter.

At that early 21st century meeting, KCABJ still had its annual media awards program, and journalists and news media companies welcomed the opportunity to submit the best of their enterprise stories about African Americans and other people of color to be judged by KCABJ. Submissions for that program dwindled so that it was mostly discontinued about four years ago.

KCABJ had provided an annual summer Urban Student Journalism Academy for high school and college students who were interested in careers in journalism. KCABJ has continued to offer the two-week, intensive program, however, in the last couple of years, too few students have signed up for KCABJ to hold the class — even though it is free and the top graduating students are offered scholarships, which KCABJ funds.

The Kansas City Association of Black Journalists was formed in 1981, and the student academy, albeit different then, started in 1982. Nearly 40 years ago, however, area media companies followed through on their interest in hiring black journalists.

The Kansas City Star has dropped more than 40 years into the past in its retreat on having a diverse news staff. TV and radio stations have maintained a certain number of black staffers, however, with the stations provide very little job stability. Those black staffers who have joined KCABJ are not around long enough to lend their talents to the organization or to become very involved in the community that supports them.

The KCABJ’s relevance question is important. Please plan to attend the Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019, meet to share your thoughts on whether KCABJ should continue as well as remain an affiliate with the National Association of Black Journalists.


Pew Media Study

In a distressing sign of the times, a Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census data shows that newsroom employees are more likely to be white and male than U.S. workers overall.  A sign of hope is that younger newsroom workers show greater racial, ethnic and gender diversity.

Having a news staff that mirrors the changing demographics of the United States increases the likelihood that the news will reflect the people and interests of the population. Not having a diverse news staff almost ensures that the coverage will be incomplete and biased.

“More than three-quarters (77%) of newsroom employees – those who work as reporters, editors, photographers and videographers in the newspaper, broadcasting and internet publishing industries – are non-Hispanic whites, according to the analysis of 2012-2016 American Community Survey data,” the study noted. “That is true of 65% of U.S. workers in all occupations and industries combined.

“Newsroom employees are also more likely than workers overall to be male. About six-in-ten newsroom employees (61%) are men, compared with 53% of all workers. When combining race/ethnicity and gender, almost half (48%) of newsroom employees are non-Hispanic white men compared with about a third (34%) of workers overall.

“The disparity in race and ethnicity exists across all age groups. Non-Hispanic whites account for about three-fourths (74%) of newsroom employees ages 18 to 49, and they represent 85% among those 50 and older. These shares are lower among workers overall.”

Thirty-eight percent of the youngest newsroom employees are both non-Hispanic white and male. It’s still a higher share than among workers overall (30%), but this 8-percentage-point gap is smaller than among older age groups.

“The racial, ethnic and gender differences by age are notable because the bulk of newsroom employees are in the younger age groups,” the Pew study notes. “About seven-in-ten newsroom employees are younger than 50: 28% are ages 18 to 29 and 42% are ages 30 to 49. Only about three-in-ten newsroom employees are 50 and older.

“These data for all newsroom employees tend to correspond with data on specific media sectors. For example, newsroom surveys conducted by the American Society of News Editors in 2012-2015 estimated that newspaper employees were 87%-88% white, 63%-64% male, and 56%-57% white and male. Surveys by the Radio Television Digital News Association in 2012-2016 estimated that television newsroom staff were 77%-79% white and 56%-60% male, while radio newsroom staff were 87%-91% white and 61%-69% male.”


The National Association of Black Journalists is seeking a communications director. For more information go to

NABJ and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) are offering a journalism short course to help students gain more skills in the industry. The course takes place March 28-31 on the Florida A&M University campus in Tallahassee, Fla. The application deadline is Jan. 1. For more information go to