“As a researcher and a journalist, I am deeply discouraged that the journalism industry isn’t as transparent about its workforce in the way that it expects other industries to be transparent about theirs,” Clark said. There have been tangible signs of progress for the industry, most notably in diverse hires for some major journalism jobs: Kevin Merida, the first Black executive editor of The Los Angeles Times; Kim Godwin and Rashida Jones, both Black women, as presidents of ABC News and MSNBC; Katrice Hardy and Monica Richardson, the first Black executive editors at the Dallas Morning News and Miami Herald; and Daisy Veerasingham, the first woman and first person of color appointed as The Associated Press’ president and CEO.
The News Leaders Association, a journalism trade group, extended the deadline for responses to its survey about employment practices at news organizations for two months, after expressing disappointment about how few are willing to reveal the diversity of their staffs. The group hopes for as much participation from an estimated 5,900 newsrooms across the country as possible but has had fewer than 250 responses, said Meredith Clark, a Northeastern University professor who is running the survey. BusinessBiden tries to tame inflation by having LA port open 24/7’As seen on TikTok’ is the new ‘As seen on TV’Deere & Co. workers go on strike after rejecting contractBank profits soar, helped by merger frenzy, fewer bad loans
Newsrooms throughout the Gannett chain, The New York Times, The Washington Post and NBC News have publicly revealed statistics on diversity hiring. There have been large-scale reckonings about past bias in reporting in newspapers like the Kansas City Star and Los Angeles Times. Despite these steps, the overall diversity picture remains blurred.
First through a precursor, the American Society of News Editors, a newsroom diversity survey has been conducted since the mid-1970s, following a Kerner Commission report that described the absence of Black journalists as “shockingly backward.” News organizations were given a goal of having staffs that reflected their communities by 2000. “The more diversity you have in your newsroom, the better you are able to capture what is going on in your community,” said Myriam Marquez, executive director of the news leaders group, which includes executives at newspapers, websites and media groups. A lack of diversity can reveal itself in many news decisions: To many critics, the attention paid to the story of Gabby Petito, a young woman found dead after a cross-country trip with her fiance, reflected a long-time concern about journalists paying more attention to missing white women than minorities in similar situations.
Despite some improvements, the 2020 goal wasn’t reached, and concerns about diversity faded with the industry’s financial collapse over the past two decades. Participation in the annual survey also became spotty, to the point where it was suspended in 2019 after only 293 responses were received. Clark was hired to create a more thorough and modern questionnaire, and to seek ways to get more participation, since internal peer pressure is proving insufficient. This year’s effort got off to a slow start because much of the group’s contact list was initially out-of-date. The survey asked for more information than in past years, and that proved time-consuming. Some organizations expressed concern about violations of privacy for staff members, but organizers insist that shouldn’t be an issue.
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