WASHINGTON (Feb. 11, 2016) - As the campaign for U.S. president moves to more diverse states, the presidents of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) ask news organizations to diversify their reporting and analysis teams to reflect those states and the campaign to come.
"African American and Hispanic voters will play a major role in deciding who our next president will be. It is important that media outlets have journalists of color directly involved in this election cycle to ensure balanced reporting," said Sarah Glover, NABJ President. "Together, African Americans and Hispanics make up 30 percent of the U.S. population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's QuickFacts 2014 data. Media outlets should be aggressive about ensuring their staffs are diverse and reflective of the communities they serve."
While the majority of the televised presidential debates have had white moderators, NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt moderated the Democrats' fourth debate in South Carolina last month and CNBC's Carl Quintanilla moderated the third debate for the GOP last October.
"It is important that news organizations are not only be reflective of the communities they are covering, but have journalists that best understands those communities," said Mekahlo Medina, NAHJ president. "Latinos and African Americans should not be reported on as an abstract block. News organizations should utilize their growing diverse staffs for accurate and fair coverage."
The next Republican debate, that takes place Feb. 13 in South Carolina, is scheduled with a white panel of moderators, not representative of South Carolina's 30 percent black population. The Democratic debate scheduled for tonight will be moderated by Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff of PBS in Wisconsin. Ifill, who is black, joins the first-ever all-female moderating team for a presidential debate.
There are a small number of journalists of color reporting, producing or part of political analysis teams at major news organizations covering the campaign for president. A Politico article published last year, titled "The Women in the Van," depicted Hillary Clinton's traveling press corps as predominately female. The pictorial drew attention to the dearth of women of color on the beat.
NABJ and NAHJ are able to facilitate the search for diverse analysts and journalists in order to enrich debate and presidential coverage.
About The National Association of Black Journalists: An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization for journalists of color in the nation, and provides career development as well as educational and other support to its members worldwide. For additional information, please visit www.nabj.org. About The National Association of Hispanic Journalists: The National Association of Hispanic Journalists is dedicated to the recognition and professional advancements of Hispanics in the news industry. Established in April 1984, NAHJ created a national voice and unified vision for all Hispanic journalists. For additional information, please visit www.nahj.org.