Minority Hiring Stalls p.52

By: MARK FITZGERALD DAILY NEWSPAPER NEWSROOMS are employing minorities at less than half the proportion of minorities in the general population, the latest figures from the American Society of Newspaper Editors suggest.
In a nation where minorities account for about 24% of the population, minorities comprise 11.35% of newsroom employees, the 1997 ASNE survey found.
That represents an increase of just one-third of one percent over the 1996 survey, which put minority newsroom employment at 11.02%.
And in actual numbers, there was no increase in minority employment at all.
ASNE said its survey suggests 6,100 minority journalists work on daily newspapers ? the same number identified in 1996.
It was the first time in the 19 years ASNE has been tracking newsroom employment that minority employment did not gain at all year to year.
And the small percentage gain came only because total newsroom employment dipped from 55,000 to 54,000 in the past year, and the number of daily newspapers also dropped, from 1,490 to 1,472. Minorities were also a smaller percentage of people entering daily newspapers, the survey suggested. The percentage of first-time hires who were minorities dropped from 21% in last year's survey to 20% in 1997.
However, the actual numbers of first-time minority hires did increase from 510 to 530 in the same period.
The dispiriting results on overall minority employment ? which show a total increase of barely more than one percent in the past four years ? illustrate just how far ASNE remains from its two-decade-old goal of achieving newsroom minority representation that equals that in the general population.
"The ASNE board of directors in 1978 believed this objective could be met earlier than 2000. But in 1978, the projection for the year 2000 was a minority population of 12% or 13%. Our country's minority population has grown to more than twice that amount and, thus, racial parity has become a moving target for ASNE," said Robert H. Giles, editor and publisher of the Detroit News and the 1996-97 ASNE president.
Giles noted that the newspaper industry has improved its minority newsroom representation considerably since 1978.
Back then, the 1,700 minority employees represented just 3.95% of newsroom slots. Since then the numbers have improved by 259%.
Even the 1997 survey had some good news: The percentage of newsroom supervisors who are minorities increased from 8.4% last year to 8.9% ? an increase of 40 jobs to 1,144. Also the percentage of daily newspapers with no minority newsroom professionals at all dropped again this year, from 44% last year to 43.5% currently.
The percentage of daily newspapers with at least one minority newsroom employee increased in all circulation categories except those papers under 10,000, the survey found.
Big dailies, however, remain the biggest employers of minority newsroom professionals. Fully 17% of minority employees work at papers with circulations over 500,000, compared with 10% of white employees.
ASNE's survey identified 2,929 black journalists, who account for 5.42% of the newsroom workforce. The next largest cohort were the 1,811 Hispanic journalists, comprising 3.35%. The 1,141 Asian-American journalists accounted for 2.11% of the work force while the 250 Native American journalists comprised less than half of one percent of newsroom employment.
? Web Site:http://www. mediainfo.com
?copyright Editor & Publisher- April 26, 1997.


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