2004 census

Newsroom employment drops again; diversity gains

Posted 4/14/2004 10:47:00 AM

WASHINGTON — Newsroomsat U.S. daily newspapers collectively improved their diversity by nearly ahalf of one percentage point in 2003, but the growthto 12.94 percent lagged behind the 31.7 percent minorities in the U.S. population.

The overall number of professionals working declined by about 500 journalists.Current newsroom employment is an estimated 54,200, according to the 27th annualNewsroom Census of the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

All minority groups increased their overall numbers.

The gain in diversity wasthe third successive increase of nearly a half a percentage point. But thetotal percentageis still short of the growth rateneeded to achieve ASNE’s goal of parity of newsrooms with their communitiesby 2025.

“The number of minorities in American newspapers continues to grow,which is a good thing,” said ASNE President Peter Bhatia, “Butthe increase is at a snail’s pace, and the overall total is still woefullylow. As the economy improves and hiring increases, it is time for all of usin the industry to step up and move this number more quickly towards parity.”

Diversity Committee chairDavid Yarnold said, “After all the numbersare digested, the question remains: Are editors encouraging growing numbersof people of color to help change the content of their newspapers to betterreflect our changing communities?”

Highlights of the 2004 Survey:

  • Supervisors: Minorities account for 10.5 percent of all supervisors in newsrooms. Twenty percent of all minorities were supervisors, a slight increase from last year.
  • Newspapers with no minorities: The number of newspapers responding to the survey with no minorities remained the same at 373. That means that 60 percent of daily newspapers responding to the survey had minority staffers. The majority of these newspapers have circulations of 10,000 or less and serve small communities.
    Nearly two-thirds of all minority journalists work at papers with circulations exceeding 100,000.
  • Staff size: The number of full-time professionals working in newsrooms continues to drop. Newsrooms have lost an estimated 2,000 full-time professionals since the year 2000 largely through the loss of white men.
  • Where do minorities work: The percentage of minorities working at the country’s largest newspapers, those exceeding 500,000 circulation, has remained virtually unchanged since 2000 and now stands at 18.7. Meanwhile the percentage of minorities working at newspapers from 250,0001 to 500,000 has grown from 18.3 percent to 20.6 and those at newspapers from 100,001 to 250,000 has grown from13.6 to 15.3.

Other findings:

  • Internships: The number of minority interns increased to 852 raising the percentage to 32.2 percent up from 30.6 percent.
  • Women: The percentage of women in daily newsrooms increased slightly to 37.23 percent after a two-year decline. The number of white women declined by a net of 72 and the number of minority women increased by a net of 80. Minority women make up 16.27 percent of the women professionals in newsrooms up from 15.8 percent last year.
  • Men: Daily newspapers staffs are still largely male. Men now total 34,017 a net decrease of 533 from last year. Minority men number 3,733 up from 3,652 last year.
  • Job categories: 65.8 percent of all supervisors are men. They are also 58.6 percent of all copy editors, 60.4 percent of reporters and 73.9 percent of photographers.

“ASNE will continue to do everything we can to help newspapers diversifytheir newsrooms,” Bhatia added. “Our first Diversity LeadershipInstitute — just last month — was an important new step to givingeditors tools to manage and lead more effectively in a more multicultural world.But we will not meet our goals unless every newspaper recommits to this importanttask. It is not about political correctness. It is about putting out newspapersthat reach out to all audiences in a country that is increasingly multiethnic.”

ASNE’s Diversity Leadership Institute represents ASNE’snext generation of its programs to help top editors deal with and cover diversity.Twenty-onetop editors from large papers gathered for the inaugural seminar to wrestlewith creating meaningful changes in coverage and in their newsrooms. The goal:build a broader, more inclusive readership while nurturing and retaining adiverse staff.

ASNE’s DiversityMission

Increasing diversity in U.S. newspaper newsroomshas been a primary ASNE mission since 1978. The Society has been an industryleader in helping newspapersbetter reflect their communities. It serves as an information clearinghouseand provides career information to aspiring journalists. The Society sponsorsa variety of initiatives and projects, including job fairs directed at youngjournalists of color and seminars for editors on the changing demographicsof the U.S.

ASNE’s initial survey in 1978 revealed that minority journalistscomprised 3.95 percent of the total newsroom workforce (1,700 out of 43,000).The surveyis a tool ASNE uses to measure the success of its goal of having the percentageof minorities working in newsrooms nationwide equal to the percentage of minoritiesin the nation’s population by 2025. Currently minorities make up 31.7percent of the U.S. population.

Census procedures

For the 2004 ASNE newsroom employment census, 927 of the1,417 daily newspapers responded to the survey, representing 65.42 percentof all U.S. dailies.The census is based on employment data reported by daily newspapers.

The survey data are projected to reflect all daily newspapers in the country.Editors participating in the survey agree to publish the percentageof newsroomemployees who are minorities. A list of newspapers with their percentagesfollows the summary and tables.

The data from newspapers that returnedthe survey are used to project the numbers for nonresponding newspapers inthe same circulation range.AnASNE follow-uptest of nonresponding newspapers found their employment of minoritiesclosely resembles newspapers in their circulation categories that respondto thesurvey. The survey figures reported above are weighted in this wayto reflect all dailynewspapers. ASNE has implemented internal monitoring procedures toensure the consistency and credibility of the employment data. Moreover, becausethe surveyprocedures remain constant each year, the ASNE census provides highlyreliable year-to-year comparisons.

The American Society of NewspaperEditors, with about 750 members, is an organization of the main editors ofdaily newspapers throughouttheAmericas.Founded in1922, ASNE is active in a number of areas of interest to top editorswith priorities on improving the diversity, readership and credibilityof newspapers.

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