2007 census

Diversity slips in U.S. newsrooms

Posted 3/27/2007 8:12:00 AM

WASHINGTON -- The percentage of minority journalists working in America’sdaily newsrooms declined slightly to 13.62 percent this year, according tothe ASNE annual newsroom census.

This year ASNE counted full-time journalists working online for the firsttime to reflect the industry emphasis on expanding its Web presence. Including online-only journalists helped the minority numbers. This year’s annualcensus found nearly 2,000 full-time journalists working only on their newspapers’ Websites. Of those, nearly 16 percent are minorities.

“The good news in the online operations doesn’t outweigh the badnews in these numbers,” said Dave Zeeck, ASNE president. “And thefact that the only two years diversity numbers have gone down were also thetwo toughest economic years for newspapers in recent memory only means we needto redouble our efforts.

“We have to remember that diversity isn’t just about numbers,it’s about making our news reports better. Diverse staffs lead to betterjournalism.”

“The drop in the percentage of minorities in newsrooms is very disappointing when you realize how the demographics of so many local communities — andof the nation — are changing so dramatically,” said ASNE DiversityCommittee chair Phil Currie.

Here are the details:

  • Nearly 57,000 full-time journalists now work in daily newsrooms. The number of minority journalists increased by about 200 to nearly 7,800.
  • Although the number of minorities increased, their percentage decreased from 13.87 percent. This is the second time since ASNE started the annual survey in 1978 that the percentage of minorities has declined. The first decline occurred in 2001.
  • The census also found about 115 full-time journalists working on Web sites whose staffs are totally separate from their print newsroom.

“This year ASNE is recognizing newspapers that are leaders in buildingdiversity on their staffs. We hope the Diversity Pacesetter Award winners willprovide both examples to show it can be done and advice that will help othernewspapers advance,” Currie said. “That is essential to our communityresponsibility and our long-term business success.”

Highlights of the 2007 survey:

  • Supervisors: Minorities account for 10.9 percentof all supervisors in newsrooms which brings this percentage down to its leveltwo years ago. Of all minorities, 20 percent are supervisors.
  • Newspapers with no minorities: 392 newspapershad no minorities on their full-time staff. This is an increase from last yearwhen 377 daily newspapers had no full-time minority journalists. The majorityof these newspapers have circulations of 10,000 or less.
  • Where do minorities work: Two-thirds of minoritieswork at newspapers with circulations exceeding 100,000?The percentageof minorities working at newspapers with more than 500,000 circulation is17 percent; 250,001 to 500,000 circulation, 22 percent; 100,001 to 250,000circulation now account for 27 percent.

Other findings:

  • Internships: The percentage of minority interns stands atnearly 27 percent, a number which has continued to fall as newspapers cut backon internships.
  • Women: Women working full-time in daily newspapers now total21,400. The percentage of women decreased slightly from 37.70to 37.56 percent. Minority women accounted for 17.37 of female newsroom staffers.
  • Men: Men now total nearly 35,600 up slightly from nearly34,200. Minority men accounted for 11.3 percent of male newsroom staffers lastyear.

ASNE’s Diversity Mission

Increasing diversity in U.S. newspaper newsrooms has been a primary ASNE missionsince 1978. ASNE is an industry leader in helping newspapers better reflecttheir communities. It provides career information to aspiring journalists.ASNE sponsors and coordinates a variety of initiatives and projects, includingjob fairs directed at young journalists of color and seminars for editors onthe changing demographics of the U.S. It is the only major mainstream journalismorganization with a full-time diversity director.

ASNE’s initial survey in 1978 revealed that minority journalists comprised3.95 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 33 percentof the U.S. population.

Census procedures

For the 2007 ASNE newsroom employment census, 932 of the 1,415 daily newspapersresponded to the survey, representing 65.87 percent of all U.S. dailies. Thecensus 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 percentage of newsroomemployees who are minorities. Last year, the ASNE board also agreed to listthe percentage for each minority group at each newspaper. A list of newspapers with their percentages follows the summary and tables.

The data from newspapers that returned the survey are used to project thenumbers for nonresponding newspapers in the same circulation range. An ASNEfollow-up test of nonresponding newspapers found their employment of minoritiesclosely resembles newspapers in their circulation categories that respond to the survey. The survey figures reported above are weighted in this way to reflectall daily newspapers. ASNE has implemented internal monitoring procedures toensure the consistency and credibility of the employment data. Moreover, becausethe survey procedures remain constant each year, the ASNE census provides highlyreliable year-to-year comparisons.

ASNE, with about 750 members, is an organization of the main editors of dailynewspapers throughout the Americas. Founded in 1922, ASNE is active in a numberof areas of interest to top editors with priorities on improving freedom of information, diversity, readership and credibility of newspapers.

Attached Files

Percentages at participating newspapers