Magazine article American Journalism Review

Hiring More Minority Journalists Is Only Half the Battle in Struggle for Diversity

Magazine article American Journalism Review

Hiring More Minority Journalists Is Only Half the Battle in Struggle for Diversity

Article excerpt

Despite decades of efforts, newsrooms of the nation's newspapers still don't reflect the diversity of the general population, and a recent survey for The Freedom Forum reveals that just hiring more minorities won't close the gap.

Fifty-five percent of minority journalists working at U.S. daily newspapers expect to leave the newspaper business, according to the survey released in July at the Unity '99 conference of minority journalism associations.(*)

"The retention issue is just coming into focus as something that is an important part of the diversity effort," Robert H. Giles, executive director of The Freedom Forum's Media Studies Center in New York City, said at the conference in Seattle. "If you're hiring, and a lot of folks are going out the other end, you're not going to gain anything."

Other survey findings:

* 70% of minority journalists polled said that "interest in another field of work" would be a major factor in their decision to leave journalism.

* 59% speculated that they might leave their jobs because of "burnout." In a related question, 77% said they feel they must work harder than their white colleagues to get ahead.

* 68% of black journalists gave their newspapers' coverage of racial and ethnic communities a grade of "C" or lower, as did 56% of Asian-American and 53% of Hispanic journalists.

* Of those who said things could be done to keep them at newspapers, better pay or better hours was mentioned by 37% of Hispanic journalists, 28% of black journalists and 28% of Asian-American journalists. …

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