Minority Representation Increases, But Still Lags General Population
Minority journalists represent a growing number of employees in TV and radio newsrooms, according to the most recent report from the latest RTDNA/Newhouse School at Syracuse University Survey, even reaching record numbers in radio newsrooms.
But there’s still a large gap between the minority population in the U.S. and the minority workforce in local news.
The latest RTDNA/Newhouse School at Syracuse University Survey finds the minority workforce in TV news fell to 25.5%. That’s down 2.2 from last year’s record high. But that’s deceptive. The minority workforce at non-Hispanic TV stations again rose to the highest level ever, 24.5% — up 0.9 from last year.
How can there be a drop in the minority workforce overall and a rise in the minority workforce at non-Hispanic stations? Participation of Hispanic stations dropped 72% in this year’s survey versus past years. That drop meant that total minorities in local TV (and some other numbers as well) are down even as the percentage of minorities and Hispanics at non-Hispanic stations went up.
Women TV news directors also hit another record high.
In the big picture, though, there’s still a large gap between the minority population in the U.S. and the minority workforce in local TV news.
The latest RTDNA/Newhouse School at Syracuse University Survey found that the minority workforce in radio rose 2 points from last year to 17.8%. That’s the highest it’s been in the 28 years we’ve conducted the survey and surpasses the previous high in 1998, when it hit 16%. And that was before the DC Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the FCC’s EEO guidelines in Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod v. FCC.
Of course, the big, long-term picture for minorities in local radio news shows an industry well behind an ever-increasing minority population in the U.S.
Alliance for Women in Media (AWM)
Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA)
Phone: (202) 729-8383
The Association for Women in Communication (AWC)
Phone: (417) 409-2492
Emma L. Bowen Foundation for Minority Interests in Media
International Women’s Media Foundation
National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)
Phone: (301) 405-0248
National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ)
The Association of LGBTQ Journalists
Phone: (202) 588-9888
Native American Journalists Association (NAJA)
Bob Papper is Adjunct Professor of Broadcast and Digital Journalism at Syracuse University and has worked extensively in radio and TV news.
Keren Henderson is Associate Professor of Broadcast and Digital Journalism at Syracuse University. This research was supported by the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and the Radio Television Digital News Association.
About the Survey
The RTDNA/Newhouse School at Syracuse University Survey was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2021 among all 1,780 operating, non-satellite television stations and a random sample of 3,379 radio stations. Valid responses came from as many as 1,336 television stations (75.1%) and 765 radio news directors and general managers representing 2,310 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.