Newsroom Diversity, or Lack Thereof
Mainstream news organizations have long fallen short in reflecting the communities they serve. In an analysis of who’s writing front page stories for major publications, 4thEstate shows that 2012 political coverage is dominated by white reporters.
The latest in our infographic series shows that over 93% of front page print articles, covering the 2012 Presidential Election, were written by white reporters. The percentage of articles written by Asian American reporters is 4%, by African American reporters is 2.1%, and by Hispanic reporters is 0.9%. This under-representation of minorities reporting on the front page holds true across most media outlets for most ethnic groups. The Dallas Morning News stands out as an exception where 18.8% of their front page stories were written by African Americans. The most striking under-representation of minorities in our data is that of Hispanic journalists, considering the Hispanic population stands at approximately 16.3% of the U.S. population (according to the 2010 Census). At six point one percent (6.1%), The Miami Herald has the highest percentage of front page stories written by Hispanics. The Boston Globe had the highest percentage of front page articles written by Asian Americans at 11.5%.
And if you think demographic balance might find its way onto the opinion pages, think again. Earlier this year, Erika Fry examined opinion page diversity in the Columbia Journalism Review:
Women wrote 20 percent of op-eds in the nation’s leading newspapers—The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal—between September 15 and December 7, 2011, according to a byline survey conducted by Taryn Yaeger of The OpEd Project, an organization that aims to diversify public debate…
…Though harder to track, statistics on racial, ethnic, and class diversity on opinion pages are just as jarring. A similar three-month byline survey, released in April by Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), showed one-half of one percent of op-eds in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal were written by Latinos; in The Washington Post, it was 0 percent. Asian Americans authored an average of 2 percent; blacks roughly 5 percent (though that rate was lifted by the Post’s 10 percent).
Image: Newsroom Diversity, by 4thEstate. Select to embiggen.