Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Newspapers Get a Failing Grade on Diversity

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Newspapers Get a Failing Grade on Diversity

Article excerpt

The percentage of daily newspaper journalists who are black declined - from 5.36% to 5.31% - last year for the first time in more than two decades. And the leader of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) suggested African Americans may just give up on the industry altogether.

"Clearly, black folk are not as important to this industry at this time, if we're not seeing an increase in the numbers," NABJ President Will Sutton said in his first reaction to the study. "As an organization, NABJ may have to reassess how much of our energy we're going to put into newspapers."

Sutton, who directs newsroom recruiting as deputy managing editor at The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., is known for his genial manner. But he and other minority journalists were infuriated when the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) revealed its latest survey of minorities in newsrooms last Tuesday at its annual convention in Washington.

Time did not cool the NABJ's anger, which later in the week issued a scathing indictment of the newspaper business: "There was no surprise because the newspaper industry has never balanced its fine words in support of diversity with action that reflects a serious and sincere effort to increase significantly black representation. …

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