News Industry Fails to Hire Minority Journalists

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Photo credit: asc.upenn.edu

By Kiersten Clifford

There is a lack of minority journalists. This isn’t an opinion, it is a fact. According to the American Society for New Editors diversity report, in 2016 only 17 percent of journalists were a minority (this only includes news organizations that participated in the survey). While white males being the majority of the work force is not new for any industry, in journalism it’s different. Journalism’s main ambition is to inform a large and diverse public.

This problem starts while they’re still a student enrolled at a University. In a study published in the Columbia Journalism Review, Alex T. Williams, a Ph.D. student at the University of Pennsylvania addressed why there are so few minority journalists. There simply aren’t as many minority journalism students. Between 2004 and 2014 only 21.4 percent of journalism graduates were minorities. In addition to that only half of those students actually got a full-time job. While two-thirds of their white peers received a full time journalist job.

This then becomes a problem for more than just the journalists who aren’t getting hired. In an article for The Atlantic Riva Gold said, “Fewer minorities are getting the opportunity to work in news, and news organizations are losing their ability to empower, represent, and—especially in cases where language ability is crucial— even to report on minority populations in their communities”. Though this article is from 2012 it can still be applied to what is happening today. This can lead to news coverage being biased and incomplete. At a time in our country when relationships with different races, religions, and cultures are complex at best it is crucial that our news comes from people who understand our widely diverse country.

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