Two Steps Forward, One Step Back p. 12

By: Debra Gersh Hernandez National Association of Hispanic Journalists report shows that
while the number of Hispanics employed at 60 of the top 100
newspapers increased since 1990, it dropped from 1992 to 1993 sp.

IT SEEMS TO be two steps forward and one step back for Hispanic advancement at the nation's biggest newspapers, according to a new survey.
A report from the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) showed that while the number of Hispanics employed at 60 of the top 100 newspapers increased since 1990, it dropped significantly from 624 in 1992 to 552 in 1993.
The report, "No Headlines, No Headway: Hispanics in the News Media Losing Ground," was co-sponsored by the NAHJ and the National Council of La Raza. It includes surveys of Hispanic staffers in both print and broadcast media.
"I think it is cause for concern for several reasons," commented Gilbert Bail?n, NAHJ president and assistant managing editor at the Dallas Morning News.
Bail?n pointed out that while the news media are losing talented people, "the number of Hispanics in the country is growing at a tremendous pace."
This trend leads to a growing gap between the percentage of Hispanics in the newsroom and in the total population, he noted.
Among the 60 responding newspapers, 48 reported staffs that were less than 5% Hispanic ? some were less than 1% ? and only five had staffs that were 10% Hispanic, or higher.
While 15% of all 552 Hispanic newspaper staffers were managers, they still comprised only 2.5% of all newsroom managers. Most worked as reporters/writers (52%), while copy editors made up 18% of the Hispanic work force, and photo/artists, 15%.
As a percentage of the work force, the Hispanic reporters/writers comprised only 4.5% of all workers; copy editors, 4%; and photographers/artists, 5.5%, according to the report.
"The national media continue to have an abysmal showing of Hispanics in newsrooms and are almost nonexistent as editors," Bail?n said, adding that is "reflected in content. We're just not really there. Most [Hispanic] editors are at the lowest levels. They're not making decisions about stories and hiring. It's a very, very big problem."
The majority of Hispanic newspaper employees were men (61%), with the greatest disparity between newsroom managers and photographers. Hispanic men made up 2.2% of all newsroom employees, while Hispanic women accounted for just 1.4%.
The percentage of minorities hired in 1993 remained at 33%, the same as in 1992. Of the 1,116 employees hired in 1993 at the 60 newspapers in the survey, 113, or about 10%, were Hispanic, a decrease from the 123 Hispanic employees who made up 12% of new hires the year before.
"Almost 68% of those hired last year were Anglos," Bail?n said. "When more than two-thirds of the hires were white, the industry is not doing some of the gymnastics they said they've been doing [to diversify hiring]."
The NAHJ report also indicated a decrease of about 23% in the number of interns hired in 1993, of whom Hispanics made up about 12%.
Bail?n noted that while many Hispanic journalists are leaving the profession altogether, there remains a huge hole because there's "not somebody ready to come off the bench."


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