Newsrooms and mass media throughout America are dealing with an ongoing issue. Diversity issues in journalism have existed for some time now, and recent studies show that the problem continues to hurt minority individuals. “A study says some of the biggest in the country is still failing to fulfill a nearly 50-year-old pledge to increase the employment of people of color in top masthead positions, despite repeated reviews and greater coverage of the issue” (Ho, 2017). As of now, the belief is that by the year 2025 major changes would eliminate the current parity, and the industry would be much more diverse, but in the year 2018, I still see no changes.
Since 1978, minorities and women have been promised equal employment opportunities in journalism only to watch the lack of parity in journalism continue to be an issue, which goes against journalism ethics. “Journalism educators actively began to address this concern when the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC) in 1982 required journalism programs to make effective efforts to recruit, advise, and retain minority students, staff, and women faculty members” (Ross & Patton, 2000, p. 24). Why does this issue continue to exist?
As an African-American male and aspiring journalist, these findings are disappointing to realize. Digital media platforms have allowed minorities to become independent and build a fan base or audience by blogging, vlogging, and citizen journalism. The public has embraced many exceptional independent journalists that flood Twitter, Facebook, and various blog websites, which shows examples of the advancement in acceptance of all journalists, regardless of color, gender, or background.
It is time for the powers that be realize that significant changes need to happen soon. “As the population becomes increasingly non-white, it is essential for the professionals charged with presenting society’s realities to fully understand the diverse perspectives and concerns of people different from themselves. Furthermore, as minorities continue to assert themselves economically, as well as politically, the ability to connect with these groups becomes essential for the survival of mass communication businesses” (Ross & Patton, 2000, p. 25). I believe that the more diverse the news staff is will only enhance a newsroom, and allow for coverage of more diverse topics, stories, and issues.
Diversity in journalism also stretches out to religion, political views, and academic credentials. Journalism ethics alone suggest that these acts are not only outdated but also unethical. Programs for aspiring African-American journalists exist and are in place to assist those students to bridge a gap designed to make a successful transition in the field of mass media. Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry of the Anna Julia Cooper (AJC) Center at Wake Forest University and Dr. Sherri Williams at American University have a program that helped ten black students enhance their journalistic capabilities by offering workshops, access to conferences, and weekly visits with the students. “Williams says the program is particularly important because the “default” narrative of the college experience is often that of a middle-class White college student” (Pennamon, 2018, p. 24). The world is changing every day, and so is journalism, and the issues of diversity in the field of writing are outdated and in need of a revision in policy and perception.
Ho, K. (2017) Diversity in newsrooms has been bad for decades and it probably won’t get better: study Retrieved from https://www.cjr.org/united_states_project/diversity-newsrooms-asne-study.php
Pennamon, T. (2018). Journalism Program Explores Black Students’ Experiences: The Weekly Magazine the Nation Provides Black Student Journalists with a Platform. Diverse Issues in Higher Education, (6), 24. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy-library.ashford.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edsgbc&AN=edsgcl.536928092&site=eds-live&scope=site
Ross, F. J., & Patton, J. P. (2000). The nature of journalism courses devoted to diversity. Journalism & Mass Communication Educator, 55(1), 24–39. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com.proxy-library.ashford.edu/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ufh&AN=3107437&site=eds-live&scope=site