Pew Report on ‘Rise of Asian Americans’ Points to Need for Newsroom Diversity

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 20, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO — The Pew Research Center just released a ground-breaking report on the growth of the Asian American community in the United States.

Several groups representing Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) have expressed concern that the Pew analysis reinforces “model minority” stereotypes, especially as it pertains to education. The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) shares these concerns, which is why we believe that newsrooms need more AAPI journalists to effectively interpret studies like Pew’s report and to present accurate and fair information to the public.

The study says Asian Americans are the fastest-growing minority group in the country: 5.8 percent of the nation’s population, up from less than 1 percent in 1965, when the modern immigration wave from Asia began.

Yet a recent survey by the American Society of News Editors showed that overall newsroom representation by journalists of color, including Asian Americans, fell for the fourth consecutive year.

Pew found that Asian Americans have the highest incomes and most education among all racial groups in the United States, the type of audience that newsrooms typically covet.

“Pew’s research reinforces the importance of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders as a segment our society that newsrooms need to pay attention to,” said AAJA National President Doris Truong. “It was disappointing to see a lack of diverse perspectives — especially from major news networks — in covering this story. AAJA is well positioned to help hiring managers find talented journalists who can connect with increasingly diverse communities.”

Without the benefit of diverse voices to help educate within the newsroom, some news organizations risk losing credibility with their audience. Not only is diversity in hiring the right thing to do because it mirrors the changing complexion of our nation’s cities, it makes economic sense. Hiring journalists who can speak to a 21st-century audience — one in which people of color will be the majority — allows news organizations to remain relevant.

Media Contact: AAJA Executive Director Kathy Chow

  • E-mail: kathyc@aaja.org
  • Telephone: 415-346-2051 | Fax: 415-346-6343
  • Mailing address: 5 Third St., Suite 1108, San Francisco, Calif. 94103

The Asian American Journalists Association is a nonprofit professional and educational organization with more than 1,500 members across the United States and in Asia. Founded in 1981, AAJA has been at the forefront of change in the journalism industry. AAJA’s mission is to encourage Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) to enter the ranks of journalism, to work for fair and accurate coverage of AAPIs, and to increase the number of AAPI journalists and news managers in the industry. AAJA is an alliance partner in UNITY Journalists, along with the Native American Journalists Association, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. For more information about AAJA, visit www.aaja.org.