2020 Research: Newsroom diversity

September 9, 2020 01:30

This is the second installment in the 2020 edition of the annual local TV and radio news survey. Additional reports will be released each week in September.

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People of Color in TV News

The percentage of people of color in local TV news reached a record high for the 3rd year in a row.
However, the percentage of people of color in the local TV workforce is up just 0.7 percentage points, and the gap in representation is down just 0.2 percentage points. In the last 30 years, the percentage of people of color among the U.S. population overall is up 13.4 points, but just 8.8 among the local TV new workforce. The representation gap, which widened after 2005, has been shrinking slowly the last 4 years.
2020 RTDNA Survey Newsroom Diversity Over Time
* Projected
The workforce of color at non-Spanish language TV stations also reached record levels for the 4th year in a row.
The percentage of African Americans in local TV news increased the most: 1.3 points. Representation of Native Americans edged up and of Asian Americans held steady. Hispanic representation fell by 0.7.
Excluding Spanish-language TV stations finds the local TV workforce 25% people of color, the fourth record high in the last 4 years. This includes 13.8% African Americans (up from 12.4%), 7.8% Hispanics (down from 8.8%), 2% Asian American and 0.4% Native American (both unchanged).
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that about 63% of the U.S. workforce overall is non-Hispanic white,17% Hispanic, 13% African American, 6% Asian American and 1% Native American.
 2020 RTDNA Survey TV Diversity Over Time 
The top 25 local TV news markets are the most racially and ethnically diverse. All newsrooms in the top 50 markets include at least one person of color and, on average, include 35% people of color. Representation of people of color improved slightly for all affiliates, market sizes and staff sizes. However, as many as 25% of newsrooms with the fewest staffers (1 to 10) and as many as 10.1% of newsrooms in the smallest markets (DMA 151+) include no people of color on staff.

2020 RTDNA Survey Diversity in TV News
Independent commercial stations tend to be much more representative than other station groups, while network affiliates include approximately 24% people of color overall (up 1.2 points and 1.4 points in the last 2 years respectively). Fox affiliates were the most diverse among network affiliates by about 5 percentage points.
Stations in the South and West are far more diverse than stations in the Northeast, and stations in the Midwest are least diverse.
Spanish-Language TV: Overall, 98.9% of the TV news workforce at Spanish-language stations are Hispanic and/or Latino. That's just below last year’s all-time high of 99.7%. Caucasians make up 0.7% and Asian Americans 0.4%.
Women of color
In the top 50 TV markets, men of color outnumber women of color, but women of color increasingly outnumber men of color in all other market sizes.
Women of color outnumber men of color 55% to 45% among Asian Americans, 53.2% to 48.8% among Hispanic and/or Latinos and 54.9% to 45.1% among African Americans.
Only among white staffers are men better represented than women at 58.7% to 41.3%.

People of Color in TV News Leadership

 TV News Directors
After a slight dip last year, the percentage of local TV news directors of color edged up slightly to tie 2018 for a record high of 17.4%.

2020 RTDNA Survey TV News Director Diversity

However, those gains were limited to 2.1-point increase in representation of Asian Americans and an increase from 0 to .4% among Native Americans. African American representation among local news directors dropped 1.6 percentage points and representation of Hispanic and/or Latino news directors was down 0.7 points.
Excluding Spanish-language stations, local news directors are 14.1% people of color vs 13.4% in 2019 and a record 14.3% in 2018. Among non-Spanish language stations, African Americans make up 4% of news directors, down for a second year. Hispanic and/or Latino news directors represent 6.5% of news directors at non-Spanish language stations, down from a record 6.9%. Asian American representation among news directors increased from 1.1% to 3.2% and Native American representation increased from 0 to 0.4%
At Spanish-language stations, 90.9% of the news directors are Hispanic and/or Latino.

News directors are most racially and ethnically diverse in markets 1 to 25, as is typical.
Non-commercial and independent stations tended to be more representative. Among network affiliates, Fox affiliates, after being most representative a year ago, lagged ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates.
Regionally, stations in the Northeast caught up with the South and West but, as usual, the Midwest lagged well behind all the other areas in terms of representation among news directors.
TV General Managers
Though representation of people of color in local TV leadership increased slightly at the news director level, general managers are less racially and ethnically diverse than last year. Just 7.1% of general managers are people of color, down from 10.3% last year.
Just 3.9% of general managers are people of color when Spanish-language stations are excluded, down from 7.4%.
2020 RTDNA Survey TV GM Diversity

Network affiliate general managers became less representative by almost 3 percentage points.

Fewer general managers are African American or Hispanic and/or Latino.
No stations reported a general manager identifying as Native American. No stations in the Midwest report a general manager of color.

Women in TV News

2020 RTDNA Survey Women in TV NewsWomen make up 44.7% of the local TV news workforce, just down from a record high in 2019 of 44.9%.
For comparison, women make up about 47% of the full time U.S. workforce overall. Based Department of Education college graduation numbers, 53.5% of the potential American workforce, ages 25 to 65, who have at least undergraduate degrees are women.
All but about 10% of the smallest newsrooms of 10 or fewer staffers include at least one woman on the news team. Women are slightly better represented in smaller markets and on smaller news teams.
Women in TV News Leadership
TV News Directors
For the fourth year in a row, the percentage of women TV news directors hit a new, record high – up from last year’s 35.3% to this year’s 36.8%.
This is a precise census number based on every TV station that runs local news.
Women news directors were most likely to be found in top 100 markets, and women make up 44% of the news directors in top 10 markets. Women news directors are more often found in non-commercial stations. Women news directors were again less likely to be found in the Northeast than any other region.
TV General Managers
After reaching a record of 23.4% last year, the percentage of general managers who are women dropped 4.4 percentage points. Network affiliate general managers are more likely to be women, representation decreased across commercial stations. General managers who are women are most common at Fox affiliates and least common at non-network affiliated stations and CBS affiliates.
Women general managers were less likely to be found in the Midwest and South than the Northeast, a change from last year, and again are most common in the West.

Radio News Diversity

15.4% of the local radio news workforce are people of color, up just under one percentage point in the last year. This is the most representative radio has been since 1998, just before courts struck down FCC Equal Opportunity Employment rules, when people of color made up 16% of the radio workforce.

2020 RTDNA Survey Radio Diversity Over Time
 * Projected

2020 RTDNA Survey Radio Diversity

2020 RTDNA Survey Radio DiversityAfricans Americans, Asian Americans and Native Americans are all slightly better represented in radio than year ago, but Hispanic and/or Latino radio broadcasters lost ground.
Just 23.2% of local radio newsrooms include one or more people of color, up half a point after an almost 8-point gain last year.
The non-commercial workforce is about twice as diverse as the commercial workforce, but lags in diverse leadership.
As is typical, radio stations in the Midwest are least diverse.
Radio News Directors
Last year, there were more news directors of color in radio than at any point in the last 5 years, at 8.2% of news directors. This year, just 7.1% of radio news directors are people of color.
Larger market radio stations and stations in the South are most likely to have a news director of color, while stations in the Midwest are least likely to.
2020 RTDNA Survey Radio News Director Diversity

African American and Hispanic/Latino news directors each lost representation, by 0.7 and 0.9, respectively. Both Asian Americans and Native Americans are slightly better represented among news directors.
Radio General Managers
2020 RTDNA Survey Radio GM DiversityThe percentage of radio general managers of color fell by almost a point from a year ago to just 6.3%. General managers of color are more than twice as likely in major markets than any other size and four times as likely at non-commercial stations as commercial ones. General managers of color were most often found in the West and the Northeast and least in the Midwest.
2.9% of radio general managers are African American, up slightly. 1.8% are Hispanic and/or Latino, down a point. 1.1% are Native American, down slightly, and 0.5% are Asian American, up slightly.
Radio: Women
Men tend to be overrepresented in local radio news, except among people of color. This year radio is 60.1% men to 39.9% women overall, including 65% men to 35% women among whites.
There are more African American, Hispanic/Latino and Asian American women than men in local radio. There are more Native American men than women, but the numbers are small.
2020 RTDNA Survey Women in Radio NewsCompared to last year, women make up less of the radio workforce and are present at all on fewer radio news teams, each down about 5 percentage points.
47.8% of radio news teams include one or more women. Women are much more likely to be found in large and major markets and much less likely to be found in medium and small markets or at commercial stations.
At 28.8%, there are more women news radio news directors overall this year. The percentage of women news directors dropped in large markets but held largely steady in medium markets and went up in both small and major markets. Historically, women news directors have been found more frequently at non-commercial stations than commercial ones, though this year the gap has shrunk to a 4-point difference.
23.6% of general managers are women, down slightly from last year. Women general managers were much more common in major markets and at the biggest radio news operations.
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.
Note that the typical (median) radio news operation had a full-time news staff of one, with the overall average number of full-time staffers at 3.

For More Information

Alliance for Women in Media (AWM)
Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA)
Phone: (415) 346-2051
The Association for Women in Communication (AWC)
Phone: (417) 886-8606
Emma L. Bowen Foundation for Minority Interests in Media
International Women’s Media Foundation
(202) 496-1992
National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)
Phone: (301) 405-0248
National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ)
(202) 853-7760
National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association
Phone: (202) 588-9888
Native American Journalists Association (NAJA)

About the Survey
The RTDNA/Newhouse School at Syracuse University Survey, funded in part by the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication at Hofstra University, was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2019 among all 1,702 operating, non-satellite television stations and a random sample of 3,427 radio stations. Valid responses came from 1,313 television stations (77.1%) and 673 radio news directors and general managers representing 1,996 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.
About Bob Papper
Bob Papper is Adjunct Professor of Broadcast and Digital Journalism at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and has worked extensively in radio and TV news.