By: Editorial Staff
Representation reached 10.91% of the work force last year,
according to American Society of Newspaper Editors’ survey
MINORITY REPRESENTATION IN the nation’s newsrooms improved last year, reaching 10.91% of the work force, according to the most recent newsroom employment census of the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE).
The proportion of minorities in newspapers increased nearly one-half of a percentage point, from 10.49% in 1993, said ASNE’s annual report, released this month at the group’s Dallas convention.
The number of Asian Americans, African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans in newsrooms grew to 5,874 last year, up from 5,635 in 1993. The number of white professionals in newsrooms dropped in 1994 to 47,996, compared with 48,076 in 1993.
Last year, the total newsroom work force was 53,840, an increase from 53,711 in 1993. Newsroom employment peaked at 56,900 in 1989.
The survey also found the following:
The proportion of supervisors who are minorities increased to 8.2%, from 7.7% the previous year. In 1994, there were 1,049 minority members in supervisory ranks, up from 988 in 1993. Whites held 91.8% of news management jobs last year, compared with 92.3% in 1993.
For the first time since 1988, the ASNE survey reported a decline in the percentage of interns and first-time hires who were minorities. Last year, 21% of new, full-time hires were minorities, compared with 24% in 1993. Among newsroom interns hired last year, 36% were minorities, compared with 39% in 1993.
Among the largest U.S. dailies, the Honolulu Advertiser had the highest proportion of minorities in the newsroom (43.8%), followed by the Miami Herald (40.4%), Oakland Tribune (36.8%), San Antonio Express-News (27.4%) and Long Beach Press-Telegram (27.5%).
In the rankings of medium-sized and small newspapers, the El Paso Times reported the highest proportion of minority newsroom professionals, with 62.1%. Three papers in this category reported newsroom work forces which were 50% minority: the Franklin (La.) Banner-Tribune, Silver City (N.M.) Daily Press & Independent and Pecos (Texas) Enterprise.
The ASNE annually tracks minority and overall newsroom employment trends. Data is based on employment information reported by daily papers at the end of the preceeding year.
The most recent findings were based on responses from 1,029 of 1,492 dailies, or 69% of all U.S. daily papers. This marked the highest response rate since the survey was created in 1978.
Gregory Favre of the Sacramento Bee, ASNE’s immediate past president, called the results encouraging for minority representation in newsrooms.
“Last year’s increase, though small, is noteworthy in a year when many newspapers trimmed staffs and slashed spending in anticipation of steep increases in newsprint prices,” he said. “Newspapers are making progress to diversify their staffs, but more, certainly, needs to be done.”