Photo: Former CNN Anchor Rick Sanchez
American newspapers showed a very slim increase in newsroom employees last year, finally halting a three-year exodus of journalists.
The percentage of minorities in newsrooms totaled 12.79 percent, a decline of .47 percentage points from a year ago, according to the American Society of News Editors (ASNE), which has conducted a census of professional full-time journalists since 1978.
This is the third consecutive year that the percentage of African-American, Asian, Latino, and Native American journalists has declined in U.S. newsrooms.
The number of professional journalists rose from an estimated 41,500 in 2009 to 41,600 in 2010, according to ASNE’s most recently completed census of online and traditional newspapers. American daily newspapers lost 13,500 newsroom jobs from 2007 to 2010.
In the most recent ASNE census, minority journalists declined from 5,500 to 5,300.
“At a time when the U.S. Census shows that minorities are 36 percent of the U.S. population, newsrooms are going in the opposite direction. This is an accuracy and credibility issue for our newsrooms,” said Milton Coleman, ASNE president.
ASNE also surveyed the staffs at 61 online only newspapers. Fifty percent returned their survey forms, compared to more than 59 percent response rate from 1,389 daily newspapers.
Highlights of the 2011 Survey
Supervisors: Minorities account for 11 percent of all supervisors in newsrooms, which remains virtually unchanged for the past four years. Of all minorities, 22 percent are supervisors.
Newspapers with no minorities: 441 newspapers responding to the ASNE census had no minorities on their full-time staff. This number has been growing since 2006.
Where do minorities work: Sixty percent of minorities work at newspapers with circulations exceeding 100,000. Of minority journalists, 19 percent work at newspapers with greater than 500,000 circulation, 14 percent at 250,001 to 500,000 circulation papers; and 27 percent at 100,001 to 250,000 circulation papers.