2003 census

Minority newsroom employment inches up in 2003

Posted 4/2/2003 4:25:00 PM

NEW ORLEANS --- Diversityin the newsrooms of American daily newspapers improved by nearly half of onepercent in 2002, but the growth of minority journalists to 12.53 percent ofnewsroom staff lagged behind the percentage of minorities in the U.S. population,which is now 31.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the AmericanSociety of Newspaper Editors 26th annual Newsroom Census showed thatnews staffs grew slightly with a net gain of about 300 journalists after a recession-drivenloss of nearly 2,000 jobs in 2001. Current newsroom employment is 55,000.

The annual census also foundthat the number of newspapers with no minorities dropped by nearly 100 newspapers.The numbers dropped from 471 papers to 373 papers this year. That means that60 percent of daily newspapers responding to the survey had minority staffers.

The gain in overall diversitystaffing was the second successive increase of nearly a half a percentage point.But the total percentage fell three percentage points short of every three-yearbenchmarks set by ASNE to chart newsrooms’ progress toward the goal of parityof newsrooms with their communities by 2025.

Year-over-year the gainby Asian Americans was greatest among the minority groups, growing by 152 journaliststo 2.62 percent. African Americans have the largest total number in newsroomsat 5.33 percent. The details

  Asian Americans African Americans Hispanics Native Americans
2003 2.62 (1,435) 5.33 (2,919) 4.04 (2,212) 0.53 (289)
2002 2.36 (1,283) 5.29 (2,879) 3.86 (2,098) 0.56 (307)
2001 2.30 (1,299) 5.23 (2,951) 3.66 (2,064) 0.44 (249)

"In the midst of budgetcutbacks over the last two years, diversity is a survivor," said Diane H. McFarlin, ASNE president. "That's something to celebrate. Looking ahead, though, we havea lot of work to do to quicken the pace of progress."

Highlights of the 2003 Survey:

  • Minorities account for 9.9 percent of all supervisors in newsrooms. Nineteen percent of all minorities were supervisors, a slight decrease from last year.
  • For the first time this year ASNE reported on the number of newspapers that achieved parity with their communities. The result is that 134 newspapers have met or exceeded parity.

Other findings:

  • Internships: The number of minority interns declined along with the percentage of minority interns which now stands at 30.6, down from 31.1 percent.
  • Where do minorities work: Nearly two-thirds of all minority journalists continue to work at papers with circulations exceeding 100,000.
  • Women: The percentage of women in daily newsrooms again declined slightly from 37.05 percent to 36.86. ASNE started tracking the number and percentage of women three years ago. Then the percentage was 37.35.
    • Women on daily newspaper staffs total 20,168 a net increase of seven from last year. The number of white women declined by a net of 204 and the number of minority women increased by 212.
    • In the past three years, the number of white women in newsrooms has declined by 1,088 while the number of minority women has increased by 195. Minority women make up 15.8 percent of daily newspaper staffs, an increase of one percentage point from a year ago.
    • Men on daily newspaper staffs total 34,550, a net increase of 297. Minority men number 3,652 or 10.57 percent. Virtually the same as last year.
    • "Any time we can report even small progress on the diversity front that is good news," said Gregory L. Moore, editor of The Denver Post and chair of ASNE’s Diversity Committee. "Obviously we need to achieve bigger gains. We have much work to do as an industry to reach our goal of parity by 2025. It is going to require our best thinking and the most aggressive solutions available."

For a list of participating newspapers and their percentages, clickhere.

The numbers have also been analyzed by Bill Dedman for the Knight Foundation. Find his analysis here.

ASNE’s Diversity Mission

Increasing diversity inU.S. newspaper newsrooms has been a primary ASNE mission since 1978. The Societyhas been an industry leader in helping newspapers better reflect their communities.It serves as an information clearinghouse and provides career information toaspiring journalists. The Society sponsors a variety of initiatives and projects,including job fairs directed at young journalists of color and seminars foreditors on the changing demographics of the U.S.

ASNE’s initial survey in1978 revealed that minority journalists comprised 3.95 percent of the totalnewsroom workforce (1,700 out of 43,000). The survey is a tool ASNE uses tomeasure the success of its goal of having the percentage of minorities workingin newsrooms nationwide equal to the percentage of minorities in the nation'spopulation by 2025. Currently minorities make up 31 percent of the U.S. population.

Census procedures

For the 2003 ASNE newsroomemployment census, 935 of the 1423 daily newspapers responded to the survey,representing 65.71 percent of all U.S. dailies. The census is based on employmentdata reported by daily newspapers.

The survey data are projectedto reflect all daily newspapers in the country. Editors participating in thesurvey agree to publish the percentage of newsroom employees who are minorities. A list of  newspapers with their percentages follows the summary and tables.

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

The American Society of Newspaper Editors, with more than 800 members, is an organization of the maineditors of daily newspapers throughout the Americas. Founded in 1922, ASNE isactive in a number of areas of interest to top editors with priorities on improvingthe diversity, readership and credibility of newspapers.