By: Kelvin Childs
Despite court ruling, 15 major companies will continue to follow FCC racial hiring guidelines
FIFTEEN OF THE nation’s largest media companies have reached an agreement with the Federal Communications Commission to keep following its affirmative action guidelines despite a court ruling that struck them down.
FCC chairman William E. Kennard announced the agreement Thursday in Washington at the National Association of Black Journalists’ 23rd annual convention.
Participating in the accord are the four major broadcast networks ? ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC ? and Time Warner, parent company of CNN and the WB. Others include cable TC companies: Cablevision, Cox, TCI and Comcast, as well as Capstar, Clear Channel, Jacor, MediaOne, Tribune and USA Broadcasting.
The FCC’s equal employment opportunity guidelines were struck down by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. The guidelines required broadcast TV and radio stations to make good-faith efforts to recruit and hire minorities, and to bring their staffing of minorities in line with their proportion in the local community.
NABJ and Unity: Journalists of Color, a coalition of the four national minority journalism associations, condemned the ruling. The FCC plans to appeal to the full court.
NABJ wants more from ASNE
In other action, the NABJ urged the American Society of Newspaper Editors to accelerate diversity gains in the industry rather than pull back on its goal of newsroom parity by 2000.
NABJ called on ASNE to push for annual 2% increases in minority employment in newsrooms; to create annual lists of those papers with the best and worst hiring records; to create more scholarships; and to improve recruitment and retention efforts.
The diversity statement ASNE adopted in 1978 called for the proportion of minorities in America’s newsrooms to match that of the general population by 2000. ASNE had forecast that the U.S. minority population would be about 15% by 2000; it has reached 26%. The newspaper industry has fallen short of either target; journalists of color now comprise 11.5% of newsrooms.
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