2010 census

Decline in newsroom jobs slows

Posted 4/11/2010 3:28:00 PM

American daily newspapers lost another 5,200 jobs last year bringing the total loss of journalists since 2007 to 13,500.

The percentage of minorities in newsrooms totaled 13.26 percent, a decline of .15 percentage points from a year ago, according to the American Society of News Editors, which has conducted a census of newsrooms since 1978 primarily as a means of measuring minority employment.

American daily newspapers lost fewer staffers in 2009 than in 2008 when nearly 6,000 journalists left newsrooms across the country due buyouts or layoffs. The overall newsroom workforce declined by about 11 percent from 46,700 to 41, 500. Among minorities, the workforce declined 12.6 percent from 6300 to 5,500.

Since 2001, American newsrooms have lost more than 25 per cent of their full-time staffers bringing the total of full-time journalists working in daily newsrooms to 41,500, a level not seen since the mid-1970’s.

"These numbers are disappointing,” said ASNE president Marty Kaiser. “Without diversity in our newsrooms we miss reporting on important stories in our communities."

For the first time, ASNE also surveyed the staffs at 28 online only newspapers. Only 25 percent returned their survey forms, compared to a nearly 65 percent response rate for daily newspapers.

The hemorrhaging of newsroom jobs has slowed somewhat. The 5,900 decline from 2008-09 was the largest one-year drop in employment in the history of the ASNE Census. Daily newsroom employment peaked in 1990 at 56,900. Minority employment peaked at 7,400 in 2007.

Highlights of the 2010 Survey

  • Supervisors: Minorities account for 11 percent of all supervisors in newsrooms, which remains virtually unchanged for the past three years. Of all minorities, 21 percent are supervisors.
  • Newspapers with no minorities: 465 newspapers responding to the ASNE census had no minorities on their full-time staff. This number has been growing since 2006. All newspapers but one with circulations of 50,000 or more that responded to the census had at least one minority staffer.
  • Where do minorities work: Nearly two-thirds of minorities work at newspapers with circulations exceeding 100,000. The percentage of minorities working at newspapers with more than 500,000 circulation is 18 percent, 250,001 to 500,000 circulation, 19 percent; 100,001 to 250,000 circulation now account for 29 percent.

Other Findings

  • Online: The census found 1,333 journalists worked solely online at both print and online only newspapers of which nearly 20 percent were minority.
    ASNE started counting online-only journalists working in print newsrooms in 2007. This year ASNE also surveyed 28 online only newspapers receiving 25 percent responses.
  • Internships: The percentage of interns who are minorities stands at 27.4 percent, a increase from 26.4 percent last year.
  • First time hires: Minorities represented 16 percent of the journalists hired for their first full-time newsroom job, the same as last year.
  • Women: Women working full-time in daily newspapers total about 15,200 or 36.62 percent. Minority women accounted for 16.3 percent of female newsroom staffers.
  • Men: Men total just over 26,300. Minority men account for 11.5 percent of male newsroom staffers.

ASNE’s Diversity Mission

Increasing diversity in U.S. newspaper newsrooms has been a primary ASNE mission since 1978. ASNE is an industry leader in helping newspapers better reflect their communities. ASNE’s initial survey in 1978 revealed that minority journalists comprised 3.95 percent of the total newsroom workforce (1,700 out of 43,000). Then there were more than 1,700 general circulation daily newspapers. The survey is a tool ASNE uses to measure the success of its goal of having the percentage of minorities working in newsrooms nationwide equal to the percentage of minorities in the nation’s population by 2025. Currently, minorities make up 33 percent of the U.S. population.

Census procedures

For the 2010 census, 914 of the 1,422 print and online newspapers responded to the survey, representing 64.3 percent of all U.S. dailies.

The data from newspapers that returned the survey are used to project the numbers for nonresponding newspapers in the same circulation range. An ASNE follow-up test of nonresponding newspapers found their employment of minorities closely resembles newspapers in their circulation categories that respond to the survey. The survey figures reported above are weighted in this way to reflect all daily newspapers. ASNE has implemented internal monitoring procedures to ensure the consistency and credibility of the employment data. Moreover, because the survey procedures remain constant each year, the ASNE census provides highly reliable year-to-year comparisons.

Editors participating in the survey agree to publish the percentage of newsroom employees who are minorities. In 2006, the ASNE board also agreed to list the percentage for each minority group at each newspaper. A list of newspapers with their percentages follows the summary and tables.

The American Society of News Editors is a membership organization for leaders of multimedia news organizations and deans and endowed chairs at accredited journalism schools. ASNE focuses on open government and the First Amendment, journalism education, leadership and diversity.

Attached Files

Minority Percentages at Participating Organizations 

Related Articles

ASNE completes second census of online-only news sites, finds increasing diversity