Black Journalists Make Gains, Especially In TV Newsrooms

July 31, 2014  |  


Finally some good news out of the media. As we recently reported, the lack of diversity among cable news guests is appalling. But according to the latest Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA)/Hofstra University Annual Survey, there are more women and minorities working in TV news. In fact, it is at the highest levels– at 22.4 percent–since 13 years ago and the second highest level ever.

One of the biggest gains was by Black women, who for the first time outnumbered Black men. Black men still however surpass Black women in top 25 markets.

Women saw major gains, especially in TV news as female news directors rose to the highest percentage ever. While there were some gains for minorities they weren’t as great. Still, at 22.4 percent, the minority workforce in TV news is the highest it’s been in 13 years. And it is the second highest ever.

African Americans and Hispanics had gains compared to last year. In the top 25 markets minorities had the largest gains, equaling 32.1 percent. The numbers dropped in the smallest markets however, decreasing to 13.6 percent. Usually it had been Fox affiliates that were in the forefront for diverse staffing, but now all the network affiliates were nearly even this year. Typically, the Northeast and Midwest trailed the South and West in diversity.

In radio, there were more minorities employed overall. And the numbers were two to three times as high for non-commercial stations as for commercial ones.

There weren’t many gains for minorities in the area of TV news directors — an increase of only 0.2 from a year ago.  “But African American news directors hit the highest level ever — at 4.3 percent,” reports RTDNA. There were no minority news directors among non-commercial TV stations.

Minority news directors in radio increased by two points from 2013, a trend for four years. You are more likely to find minority news directors at public radio stations, in larger markets and everywhere except the Northeast.

In terms of staffing, there wasn’t much of a change from the previous year. News staffs with minorities dipped slightly from 92.4 to 90.2. Incredibly, there remain newsrooms with more than 20 staffers that contain not one minority.  Minority share of the workforce decreases as market size goes down.

Minority journalists make up 13.3 percent of newsroom employees at daily newspapers, according to a 2014 survey by The American Society of News Editors, up nearly a point from 2013’s 12.4 percent. African Americans  increased in newspapers and television.

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