UNITY Responds to ASNE Newsroom Diversity Report

ASNE Releases Newsroom Diversity Numbers, Unity Calls on News Industry to Make Diversity a Business Mandate

This week, the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) released their Newsroom Employment Census, an annual report that delivers data on those employed in the News Industry. Though total newsroom employment has decreased, overall newsroom diversity has remained stagnant. Although it may seem as though minority employees are faring well enough in the news industry, what these numbers show is that newsrooms in the United States continue to fail to reflect the diversity of the United States as a nation.

In 2012, of the 38,000 people employed in newsrooms, about 4,700 (12.37 percent) of those were racial minorities. The percentage of minority employees has remained between 12 and 13 percent for the last 10 years. According to the latest U.S. Census, the United States is now 37 percent minority.

“The data is disappointing,” said AAJA President Paul Cheung. “This is the time to stop talking about diversity and focus on concrete solutions to diversify our newsroom staff and coverage. If we continue on this current path, our audience will stop consuming our news because we don’t reflect who they are. AAJA stands ready to help. Give us a call and let’s outline an action plan.”

UNITY Interim Executive Director Walt Swanston also addressed this disparity, saying: “Any news media organization that hopes to remain in business must produce stories that serve those readers” (read the full UNITY statement on their website). 

UNITY: Journalists for Diversity, Inc. is a strategic alliance advocating fair and accurate news coverage about diversity — especially race, ethnicity, gender identity and sexual orientation – and aggressively challenging the industry to staff its organizations at all levels to reflect the nation’s diversity. AAJA is an alliance partner in UNITY: Journalists for Diversity along with the Native American Journalists Association, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association.