When it comes to journalism, white men STAY winning

On the left, the time span of white people who have led top news outlets. On the right, people of color.

On the left, the time span of white people who have led top news outlets. On the right, people of color.

Take 24 mainstream, national news outlets, count their years of existence (around 1,500 years total) and tally the race and gender of the outlets’  top editors.

Do the math, put it in an infographic and what do you get?

Depressed.

If you’re a person of color or a woman, you get depressed.

From Scratch Magazine’s “Diversity in Journalism” interactive graphic by Vijith Assar. Manjula Martin writes:

As it turns out, there isn’t really enough data to make an interactive graphic about diversity among top newsroom editorial positions… —because there isn’t really any racial diversity at all.

All in all, this chart covers approximately 1500 combined “man-years” of top editorial positions (and that’s not a gender-neutral pronoun). Of those years, ~1486 were led by men and ~36 were led by women. All were led by white people except for the months since Dean Baquet, who is African American, took over the New York Times in May 2014.

Did you get that? The people who dictate how the first draft of history is written? Almost exclusively white men.

Why should you care? Scratch’s Martin explains:

“If journalism’s purpose to tell and expose the truth, what truths aren’t being brought to light in a homogeneous newsroom?”

The pink bars are women who were top editors at these national news outlets

The pink bars are women who were top editors at these national news outlets

I can answer that question: A lot. A WHOLE LOT. You have no idea how much.

It’s not just the stories that don’t get written/assigned – it’s the slant on the stories that DO get written. Most of the time, the coverage reflects the priorities and sensibilities of those in charge – white, educated, middle-class men.

Even in newsrooms where there may be a few people of color/women in what might appear to be decision-making roles, often those people of color are so marginalized that their voices aren’t heard.

This lack of diversity isn’t just at big news outlets, it’s everywhere.

According to the 2013 American Society of News Editors’ annual census, of 38,000 full-time U.S. newspaper employees, about 12.37 percent are racial minorities.

The goal, ASNE has said, is that the “percentage of minorities working in newsrooms nationwide to reflect the percentage of minorities in the nation’s population by 2025.”

By 2025, minorities will be 42 percent of the population.

 

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