By Bob Papper, Hofstra University
The latest RTDNA/Hofstra University Annual Survey finds virtually no change in the percentage of minorities in TV news from a year ago; radio numbers are down overall. The percentage of minority news directors went up in radio but down a bit in TV. The percentage of minority news directors at non-Hispanic TV stations fell back from last year's record high -- but it's still the second highest level ever.
Women overall in TV news rose back over the 40% mark, but women TV news directors pulled back from last year's record high. In radio, women and women news directors edged up slightly.
As far as minorities are concerned, the bigger picture remains unchanged. In the last 23 years, the minority population in the U.S. has risen 10.7 points; but the minority workforce in TV news is up 3.6, and the minority workforce in radio is up 0.1.
Minority population v. minority broadcast workforce 1990 - 2013
|Minority Population in U.S.||25.9%||27.9%||28.6%||32.8%||34.9%||35.4%||36.3%||36.6%*|
|Minority TV Workforce||17.8||17.1||21.0||21.2||20.2||20.5||21.5||21.4%|
|Minority Radio Workforce||10.8||14.7||10.0||7.9||5.0||7.1||11.7||10.9|
Television news work force - 1995 - 2013
Radio news work force - 1995 - 2013
In TV, generally, the smaller the market, the lower the minority newsroom population: 13.2% in markets 151+ ... up to 29.3% in the top 25 markets. That's the way it always comes out. The proportion of minorities is more random when it comes to total staff size. The smallest newsrooms, 1 - 10 staffers, have the highest percentage of minorities (36.8%). Of course, that's also where we find many of the Hispanic stations, whose numbers soar in that group.
Fox affiliates, at 25.1%, had a higher percentage of minorities than the other affiliates. That's been pretty consistent over the last few years. The other network affiliates were all pretty similar -- which represents a meaningful increase at NBC affiliates, which had tended to trail the others. This year, NBC stations were slightly ahead. Other commercial stations, at 62.6%, were at the top (as always). At 17%, non-commercial stations are way up from a year ago and are now on a par with ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates.
As always, stations in the West and South were the most diverse; stations in the Northeast and Midwest had minority percentages under half the South and West.
The minority percentage at non-Hispanic stations fell to 19.4% from last year's 19.7%. It was 19.1% two years ago; 19.3% three years ago; and 19.6% the year before that. Largely unchanged overall in the last five years.
At non-Hispanic stations, the minority breakdown is:
- 10.2% African American (down from 10.5%)
- 5.5% Hispanic (down from 5.7%)
- 3.3% Asian American (up from 3.0%)
- 0.4% Native American (down from last year's 0.5%)
Overall, 89.1% of the TV news workforce at Hispanic stations are Hispanic. That's down from last year's 89.6%. Another 9% are white; 2% are black. I found no Asian Americans or Native Americans at Hispanic stations.
The percentage of minorities at commercial radio stations, 14.0%, was more than double the percentage at non-commercial stations, 6.7%. That's a reversal from a year ago. The biggest difference was among Hispanics, where the percentage is more than four times as high at commercial stations compared to non-commercial ones. Having a bigger staff or more stations did not increase minority representation until you got to the biggest stations (10+ staffers). But market size made a difference, with the largest markets (1 million or more) about double or more all the other market sizes. As usual, the West (in particular) and then the South had the highest percentages of minorities. They always do.
As usual, in TV, men outnumber women for all groups except Asian Americans, where women outnumber men by 9:7. That last number is a much closer ratio than I usually see. Most years, it's been almost 2:1 women. Native Americans came in dead even. Differences are greatest among whites, where there are 60% more men than women. That's slightly closer than last year, but not much. In contrast, there are 17% more Hispanic men than women and 25% more black men than women. That disparity holds in all market sizes except the smallest (151+), where African American, Hispanic and Native American women all outnumber men. Asian American men and women are even in those smallest markets.
Television news directors – 1995 - 2013
Radio news directors – 1995 - 2013
Minority TV news directors fell by half a percent in the last year. There were far more minority news directors in top 25 markets than in all other market sizes. Differences after the top were comparatively small this year. Generally, the larger the newsroom staff, the less likely that it was headed by a minority -- from 31.8% for staff sizes 1 - 10 ... down to 4.5% for staff size 51+. That 4.5% in top 25 markets is identical to a year ago. Other commercial stations (including Hispanic) led the way. Among the big four, CBS affiliates were the most likely to have a minority news director. All other affiliates were just about the same. I found no minority news directors this year among non-commercial TV stations. Stations in the South led all other regions, but the margin over West and Northeast was comparatively small. As usual, the Midwest lagged well behind.
After three years of growth, the percentage of minority news directors at non-Hispanic stations fell from last year's record 10.7% to this year's 9.5%. That's still the second highest percentage ever. At non-Hispanic stations, 3.3% were African American; 3.4% were Hispanic; 2.4% were Asian American; and 0.7% were Native American. All groups fell except Asian American. This may also be the first time that Hispanic news directors outnumbered African American news directors at non-Hispanic stations
The percentage of minority news directors in radio rose almost 1 point from last year; that's the third year in a row the percentage has gone up. But the gains were erratic. Hispanic and Native American went up; African American and Asian American fell. Last year's survey found a lot more diversity among non-commercial stations than commercial ones. This year it was just the opposite. As with TV, there are a lot more minority news directors in the West and South than in the Northeast and Midwest.
Minorities in local TV news – 2013
|Average Number of Minorities on Staff|
Virtually all of the drop in minority news directors came from a decline in minority news directors in markets 26 - 50 in stations with 31 - 50 news staffers.
The growth in minorities at independent stations helped to make up for the half point decline in minorities at network affiliates. Non-commercial stations, with no minority news directors and fewer minority staffers brought down the percentages. Fox affiliates had the highest minority workforce, and stations in the South and West had double the percentage of minorities as stations in the Northeast and Midwest.
Minorities in local radio news – 2013
Minorities on Staff
After a relatively good year last year in radio diversity, this year's numbers are almost identical. The only noticeable difference among radio groups came with commercial and non-commercial stations. Non-commercial stations were more likely to have minorities on staff, but commercial stations had twice as many minorities in the work force as non-commercial stations and were more than twice as likely to have a minority news director.
Women in local TV news – 2013
Women on Staff
After setting a record last year, with over 30% women TV news directors, the number slid back down this year to 28.7%. Women news directors were most likely to be found in the biggest markets, and least likely to be found in the smallest ones. They were also less likely to be at the smallest stations. ABC affiliates had more women news directors than others, but the difference wasn't large. There were fewer women news directors in the West, but that margin, too, was comparatively small.
Note that the overall percentage of women TV news directors comes from a complete census of all TV news directors. All the subsets on the data come from the survey itself. For survey buffs, a smaller percentage of women news directors return the survey compared to men. For whatever the reason, that's been true every year since I started the census calculation in 2002.
The last couple years, the overall percentage of women in TV news slid slightly, and more of them tended to be in smaller markets. It wasn't pronounced, but there was a difference. There's less of one today. The overall percentage of women in TV news is again over 40%, and while there remains a higher percentage of women in markets 101+ than the top 100, the difference is lower than last year., ABC affiliates are a little more likely to have women news directors; non-commercial stations have a smaller percentage of women on staff; and I could find no women news directors at non-commercial TV stations.
Women in local radio news – 2013
Women on Staff
The percentage of radio news departments with women rose by almost 8 points in the last year, but the percentage of women radio news directors and the percentage of women in the radio news workforce grew only slightly in the last year. Although the incidence of women news directors was almost identical between non-commercial and commercial stations, non-commercial stations were about twice as likely to have women on staff and had a lot more of them.
Major markets are those with 1 million or more listeners. Large markets are from 250,000 to 1 million. Medium markets are 50,000 to 250,000. Small markets are fewer than 50,000.
TV general managers – 2013
|Percent Caucasian||Percent Minority||Percent Men||Percent Women|
Women TV general managers fell by 1.5 points from a year ago. The drop came among network affiliates and tended to be in markets 26 - 100 and 151+.
Minority GMs rose by two and a half points, but almost all of that took place at independent stations. Minority GMs at network affiliates rose just 0.8. None of the network affiliates had many minority GMs, but the survey turned up none at any CBS affiliate.
At non-Hispanic stations (which run local news), minority GM numbers went up for the third year in a row. Minority GMs at non-Hispanic stations had dropped from 9.8% to 3.1% to 2.6%, before going up to 4.3% two years ago , 5.4% last year and 5.8% in the latest survey. Once again (for the second time in a row), there were more Hispanic GMs (at non-Hispanic stations) than African American GMs. They're close (2.5% Hispanic and 2.2% African American), but there were more Hispanics. 0.4% are Asian American and 0.7% Native American. Most of the GMs at Hispanic stations are Hispanic; the rest are white.
Radio general managers – 2013
|Percent Caucasian||Percent Minority||Percent Men||Percent Women|
The percentage of minority radio general managers soared from last year's 4.7% to this year's 8.2%. That's the first gain after two years of dropping. Non-commercial stations were about half as likely to have minority GMs as commercial stations. The percentage of women general managers in radio plunged from last year's 19.3% to this year's 14%. Blame non-commercial stations which had way fewer women GMs than commercial stations.
Age & Tenure - 2013
The typical TV news director remained in the mid 40s. The average age was 46.7 and the median was 46. That's the same median as last year -- and the year before.
Apparently TV news directors refuse to age. News directors in the largest markets tend to be slightly older than in smaller markets, but the differences are small. Overall, the age ranged from 29 to 78.
The average TV news director has been news director at that station for 5.7 years -- although the median was only 3 years. The longest serving news director -- at 44 years -- helped raise the average, but the many newer news directors kept the median down to 3. The average is about the same as a year ago, but the median is down a year. News directors are an experienced lot. The average news director had held that title (somewhere) for almost 10 years, and the median was 7. So even as news directors move around, it tends to be news directors moving from station to station rather than new news directors coming in.
Radio news directors are about the same age as TV news directors. The average age was 46.7 and the median was 48. I found news directors as young as 19 and as old as 90. There were no consistent differences by staff size, number of stations, market size or ownership, but radio news directors were a bit younger in the Northeast than anywhere else.
The average radio news director has been at his or her station for over 10 years (10.5), although the median was 6. Not nearly as nomadic as TV news directors. There were no consistent differences no matter how I looked at the numbers.
Newspapers and TV
The 2013 survey by the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) found that minority journalists make up 12.4% of newsroom employees at daily newspapers. That’s up 5/100 of a percent, but it rounds up from 12.3% last year to 12.4% this year. As with TV, the percentage of minorities in newspaper has changed little in more than a decade.
|Daily Newspapers||TV News|
|Daily Newspapers||TV News (non-Hispanic only)|
For More Information
Alliance for Women in Media (AWM)
Phone: (703) 506-3290
Fax: (703) 506-3266
Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA)
Phone: (415) 346-2051
Fax: (415) 346-6343
Association for Women in Communication (AWC)
Phone: (703) 370-7436
Fax: (703) 342-4311
Emma L. Bowen Foundation for Minority Interests in Media
Phone: (202) 524-6409
Fax: (202) 524-6411
International Women’s Media Foundation
Phone: (202) 496-1992
National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)
Phone: (301) 405-0248
Fax: (301) 314-1714
National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ)
Phone: (202) 662-7145
Fax: (202) 662-7144
National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association
Phone: (202) 588-9888
Native American Journalists Association (NAJA)
Phone: (405) 325-1649
Fax: (405) 325-6945
Unity: Journalists of Color
Phone: (703) 854-3585
Fax: (703) 854-3586
Bob Papper is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Journalism, Media Studies, and Public Relations at Hofstra University and has worked extensively in radio and TV news. This research was supported by the School of Communication at Hofstra University and the Radio Television Digital News Association.
About the Survey
The RTDNA/Hofstra University Survey was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2012 among all 1,732 operating, non-satellite television stations and a random sample of 3,000 radio stations. Valid responses came from 1,377 television stations (79.5%) and 217 radio news directors and general managers representing 575 radio stations.
Some data sets (e.g. the number of TV stations originating local news, getting it from others and women TV news directors) are based on a complete census and are not projected from a smaller sample.