It’s no secret that America has had a big push in recent years to include minorities in the same opportunities that their white, male counterparts have. Unfortunately, although there has been a larger wave of support than previously seen, minorities are still fighting a battle for equal representation in the workplace. This is a problem across many different career fields, but today I want to focus on the media industry.
Minorities account for upwards of 37% of America’s populations, so it doesn’t make sense that on average they make up less than 20% of employees in the media industry. Between 2004 and 2014, minorities made up 21.4% of graduates with journalism degrees, but they only account for 13% of newspaper and radio journalists. How can we ensure fair representation of minorities in the general public when the majority of our major newsroom employees can’t identify with them?
Perhaps minorities, on average, are less likely to afford colleges that give them the opportunities to perform internships and acquire on the job experience. Maybe they tend to know a fewer amount of people currently or previously working in the industry, making it harder to gain familiarity with news companies. If this is the case, what can companies do to ensure they are hiring a broad spectrum of applicants, regardless of race, gender, religion, etc.
The hiring process is a double edged sword. While it is important to give all applicants equal opportunities, how can you turn someone down if they truly are more qualified due to internships and experience? Maybe in addition to looking at work experience, education, and internships, hiring officials should also start looking at background and the impact on the general public. Maybe during interviews, they should ask applicants, “What unique aspect can you bring to the table to relate to our audience?” or “What can you bring to the table that someone else may not be able to?” These are questions that many minorities would be able to answer thoroughly, since a large percent of our population is made up of minorities.
By revamping our hiring process and paying more attention to the individual and the interview rather than just the paper resume, perhaps we will eventually be able to more accurately represent the melting pot that America is today.
White, G. B. (2015, July 24). Where Are All the Minority Journalists? Retrieved from The Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/07/minorities-in-journalism/399461/