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News & Press: NABJ News

NABJ Calls on Media Companies to Take Action on APSE’s Racial & Gender Report Card

Thursday, April 28, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Aprill Turner
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Newspapers, websites lacking diversity in sports

Washington, DC (April 29, 2011) --A new survey indicates the number of African-Americans working as sports editors has dropped nationwide. The National Association of Black Journalists is calling on media companies to take action after the Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) released its latest report card.

This week, APSE released its third Racial and Gender Report Card on newspaper and online newsrooms.  APSE partners with The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport to conduct the survey every two years. The 2010 survey shows women and journalists of color increased as members of the total staffs of all APSE member papers and Web sites in 2010. However, the number of African-American sports editors has dropped since the last survey in 2008.

White men continued to lead almost all sports departments as editors in 2010. The percentage of sports editors who were women or people of color fell 2.3 percentage points from 11.7 percent in 2008 to 9.42 percent in 2010. White males increased by 3 percentage points for sports editors.

 This year’s report shows there were five people of color and seven women who were sports editors in the largest circulation sized papers, compared to 2008’s total of nine and two, respectively.

 "It is critical that media companies take steps to right the ship and promote and hire editors of color who can offer a unique perspective when covering sports and African-American players who dominate the rosters of the NFL and NBA,” said NABJ President Kathy Y. Times.

 Richard Lapchick, the Institute’s director and primary author of this report noted:

"It is important to have voices from different backgrounds in the media,” Lapchick said.

 Gregory Lee, NABJ Sports Task Force chairman and senior assistant sports editor at the Boston Globe, said the organization appreciates that Lapchick and TIDES have continued to underscore concerns in America’s sports departments. But he added, "It is time for action. It is time to promote real solutions to the problems at hand during a time of great demographic changes in our nation.”

 According to data collected between October 1, 2010 and January 25, 2011, there were three African-American male sports editors (down from six in 2008) at all APSE participating companies. Of the 3,475 APSE newspapers and Web sites surveyed, not one woman of color held a position as sports editor. (That changed when Lisa Wilson was promoted as sports editor of the Buffalo News earlier this month).

"As with the 2008 APSE Report Card, ESPN’s record formed a substantial part of the totals for sports editors and columnists of color. ESPN has two African-American sports editors and 23 African-American men and women as columnists,” Lapchick said.

 Other highlights from the report:

  • 96.86% of the nation’s sports editors are white. African-Americans make up of 1.35%
  • 85.64% of the nation’s sports columnists are white. African-Americans make up 11.33%
  • 85.63% of the nation’s sports reporters are white. African-Americans make up of 7.95%

In 2010, the TIDES NFL Report Card reported that blacks comprised 67% of the players in the league. The NBA Report Card reported 77% of the players in the game are black. The MLB Report Card reported nine percent of the players are black and 28 percent are Latino.

NABJ is encouraged that the APSE is continuing its efforts to support programs such as the Sports Journalism Institute since 1993 in starting the careers of hundreds of journalists of color and women. However, the organization believes it is time to start putting more emphasis on training minorities for management positions, which influences the hiring practices of these sports departments.

 "The key to turning around these numbers in the survey is to put the onus on those individuals who hire sports editors – the Associated Press Managing Editors, American Society of Newspaper Editors and executives at sports media Web sites. They are the gatekeepers in promoting diversity in this segment of the newsroom,” Lee said.

For the APSE Report, click here.

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