RTDNA Research 2015 Update: TV and newspaper staffing

July 28, 2015 01:30

By Bob Papper, Professor Emeritus - Hofstra University
RTDNA's annual survey of newsrooms across the United States covers such topics as story coverage, what's new online, social media and mobile strategies, television and radio technology, budgets and profits, stations doing news, news director profiles, and our most popular areas of research; newsroom salaries, women and minorities in newsrooms, and broadcast newsroom staffing. See the entire series here.
Another tough year for newspapers and the people who work there. The American Society of News Editors (ASNE) changed its survey schedule, and new results were just released today (July 28, 2015). In terms of total newsroom employment, here’s the latest comparison:
  Daily Newspapers Local TV News
Total workforce 2015 32,900 27,600
Total workforce 2014 36,700 27,300
Change from 2014 to 2015 -10.4% +1.1%
The minority workforce picture wasn’t positive for either newspaper or TV. In local TV news, the minority population slid by 0.2; it dropped 0.5 at daily newspapers. Overall, in TV, African Americans and Asian Americans both went up by 0.4… Hispanics dropped by 1.6… and Native Americans fell by 0.1. At non-Hispanic stations, the minority percentages rose by more than a point to 20.3% -- the highest level since 2006.
At daily newspapers, all minority groups fell except multi-racial, which rose by a tenth of a point. But with the overall drop in employment, all minority groups fell in absolute numbers. 
The percentage of women in local TV news rose to its highest level ever, while the percentage at daily newspapers slid by 0.1.
  Daily Newspapers TV News
Minority population 12.8% 22.2%
African American 4.7 10.8
Hispanic/Latino 4.2 8.2
Asian American 2.8 2.9
Native American 0.4 0.3
Multiracial 0.6 *
Women 37.1 42.3
*RTDNA does not collect that data
  Daily Newspapers TV News (non-Hispanic only)
Minority population 12.8% 20.3%
African American 4.7 11.1
Hispanic/Latino 4.2 5.9
Asian American 2.8 2.9
Native American 0.4 0.3
Multiracial 0.6 *
Women 37.1 42.3
*RTDNA does not collect that data
Still, as far as minorities are concerned, the bigger picture remains unchanged.  In the last 25 years, the minority population in the U.S. has risen 11.5 points… to a projected 37.4%. Neither daily newspaper nor local TV news are making real gains on the overall population.

Bob Papper is Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Journalism at Hofstra University and has worked extensively in radio and TV news.  This research was supported by the Lawrence Herbert 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 2014 among all 1,688 operating, non-satellite television stations and a random sample of 3,704 radio stations.  Valid responses came from 1,281 television stations (75.9%) and 316 radio news directors and general managers representing 868 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.