Differential Employment Rates in the Journalism and Mass Communication Labor Force Based on Gender, Race, and Ethnicity: Exploring the Impact of Affirmative Action

By Becker, Lee B.; Lauf, Edmund et al. | Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Winter 1999 | Go to article overview

Differential Employment Rates in the Journalism and Mass Communication Labor Force Based on Gender, Race, and Ethnicity: Exploring the Impact of Affirmative Action


Becker, Lee B., Lauf, Edmund, Lowrey, Wilson, Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly


This paper examines whether gender, race, and ethnicity are associated with employment in the journalism and mass communication labor market and-if discrepancies in employment exist-what explanations might be offered for them. The data show strong evidence that race and ethnicity are associated with lower levels of employment among journalism and mass communication graduates. These discrepancies in success in the job market are explainable in highly specified situations by factors normally associated with hiring, such as type of training, type of institution offering the training, or qualifications such as internship experience and level of performance in the classroom.

Anti-discrimination laws and affirmative action procedures theoretically have leveled the playing field in employment. Race, gender, and ethnicity are supposed to no longer have a role in hiring, and, as a consequence, employment rates for the powerful and less powerful groups in society should be indistinguishable.

Because of the supposition that race, gender, and ethnicity no longer play a significant role in hiring, affirmative action-though not antidiscrimination legislation-has come under severe attack in recent years. Affirmative action is often termed a form of reverse discrimination that ought to be outlawed by the anti-discrimination legislation and policy that preceded-and in many ways-spawned it.

Debates within the communication industries have mirrored those in society at large. Media industries are considering the need for continued affirmative action in a period of high employment overall and supposed equality of access to jobs in the economy.

Does discrimination continue to exist in the journalism and mass communication labor force? Is there evidence that anti-discrimination legislation and affirmative action policies on the part of media and related communication employment sectors have eliminated race, ethnicity, and gender as criteria in hiring? This paper examines that question in detail by documenting, first, the rate of employment of those seeking entry-level jobs in the field of journalism and mass communication and then attempting to explain why discovered gaps in employment rates exist.

Background

Until the U.S. Congress passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964, it was legal to make hiring decisions based on race, ethnicity, and sex. At that time, it was common to use these characteristics in selecting employees and in assigning them to work tasks once they were hired. Such decisions might have made short-term economic sense, given past practices and existing prejudices in the society. They certainly were accepted practice in U.S. industries, including those in the communication sector.

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act made race- and sex-based segregation in the workplace illegal. Affirmative action resulted from the recognition that outlawing discrimination in hiring would not, of itself, result in equal access for women and members of racial or ethnic minorities to all segments of the labor force. Affirmative action requires employers to do more than refrain from making decisions based on race and ethnicity. It requires pro-active activities to promote equal employment opportunities to groups traditionally discriminated against in employment. Hiring is one of the important pro-active activities. Reskin, in her review of the effects of affirmative action on employment, says that the 1964 Federal law banning discrimination in employment curtailed the most blatant forms of discrimination but had little effect on the discrimination that stemmed from the ways that organizations went about recruiting, screening, and evaluating workers.l She continues: "Custom, habit, self-interest and people's aversion to the risks that change entails all favor the status quo. In pursuing ostensibly neutral recruitment, hiring and promotion procedures that were customary before the passage of anti-discrimination regulations, establishments continued to exclude groups of workers from many lines of work. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Differential Employment Rates in the Journalism and Mass Communication Labor Force Based on Gender, Race, and Ethnicity: Exploring the Impact of Affirmative Action
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.