Research presented at the American Society of Newspaper Editors revealed that the percentage of non-white employees at U.S. newspapers was only 11.55 in 1998. Women, who compose slightly more than half of the U.S. population, made up only 37% of newspaper employees last year.
Minority employees were especially lacking in higher-paid and more influential supervisory and managerial positions, where they made up only 9% of all employees. Other findings indicated that minority applicants may have difficulty “getting a foot in the door.” Last year, the number of minority interns and entry-level employees was lower than in the past.
In light of these and other findings, the ASNE announced that it will create a national database of talented minority students who are seeking internships or jobs and also enact other initiatives to increase diversity among journalists.
Incoming ASNE president N. Christian Anderson expressed support for increasing diversity in newsrooms, saying “You can’t sell newspapers to people if you don’t reflect their communities. It’s a simple business equation, as well as the right thing to do.” ASNE’s modest goal is for newsrooms to reflect the makeup of the general U.S. population by 2025.