Lancaster (Ohio) Eagle-Gazette

By Fitzgerald, Mark | Editor & Publisher, July 1, 2007 | Go to article overview

Lancaster (Ohio) Eagle-Gazette


Fitzgerald, Mark, Editor & Publisher


Lancaster, Ohio, pop. 35,335, won't ever be confused with Manhattan. Columbus is the nearest big city, about 35 minutes away. Go north, says Lancaster Eagle-Gazette Publisher Rick Szabrak, and you're in new suburbia. Go south, and you're in farmland.

So when Managing Editor Antoinette Taylor-Thomas is interviewing any young person -- especially a candidate of color -- she stays "blatantly honest" about homey Lancaster, where racial and ethnic minorities make up just 5.3% of the community. "If you're looking for clubs, this isn't the place," she warns.

Increasingly, though, Lancaster is attracting more than its share of minority journalists. The Eagle-Gazette fills 33.3% of its newsroom positions with people of color. Industrywide, minorities are just 13.6% of daily newsrooms.

But the Eagle-Gazette's achievement is even more impressive when measured by the "diversity index" adopted by the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) for its census. The index compares the percentage of minorities in the newsroom with the same percentage in a paper's circulation area, with parity being 100. U.S. newspapers as a whole average 41.2, and papers the size of the 13,795-circulation Lancaster daily average just 32. This year, the Eagle-Gazette's diversity index was a hefty 628, leading ASNE to honor it as one of the top "diversity pacesetters. …

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