Diversity at newspapers flatlines in down economy; NABJ calls for
more robust effort by newsroom executives to increase number of black
WASHINGTON - Diversity is flatlining in print newsrooms wrestling
with the challenges of a slowly recovering economy and a country that
will look increasingly different than the journalists who cover it
unless more deliberate attempts to achieve significant progress are
The American Society of News Editors announced Tuesday that total
newsroom employment declined by 6.4 percent in 2012, and the presence of
black journalists fell from 4.68 percent to 4.65 percent last year -- a
loss of 63 journalists from the previous year and a net reduction of
993 since 2001.
"NABJ remains concerned that black journalists are losing jobs in our
industry," said Gregory Lee Jr., NABJ President. "We recognize that the
rate of black journalists leaving newsrooms compared to all groups has
slowed, however, we need to encourage news organizations to realize the
return on investment is great if their staffs reflect our diverse
According to the latest U.S. Census, the black population grew 15.4 percent between 2000 and 2010.
"Black journalists are more vital than ever to newsrooms committed to
accurately reflecting the communities they cover,” said Errin Whack,
NABJ Vice President-Print. "Our members should be key to the survival
strategy of any newspaper or digital news organization looking for ways
to attract readers. Diversity should be approached as more than a moral
imperative; it is an economic one.”
As always, NABJ stands ready to be part of the solution and is committed
to helping ASNE achieve its goal of newsroom parity by 2025 -- a mere
12 years away. Newsroom executives and managers are strongly
encouraged to attend our annual convention, July 31 - August 4, 2013, in
Orlando, Fla., to participate in changing the state of our industry.
Specifically: Meeting and hiring black journalists who can help
diversify mainstream newsrooms.
In the coming days, NABJ also will reach out to newspapers experiencing
significant diversity deficiencies in an effort to assist them with a
more effective approach to finding and retaining talented black