The Need for Diversity in U.S Newsrooms | Bridgette Wise

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Diversity in the news has been a topic of discussion and an ongoing struggle for news organizations for countless years now. Back in 1978 the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) made it a goal that by the year 2000 the percentage of minority workers in newsrooms would equal the minority proportion of the United States population, however that goal was not met. The ASNE then made a statement saying that by the year 2025 they would achieve their goal of having the percentage of minority workers equal the percentage of minorities in the population. However, the way the numbers are trending shows that the U.S is on its way to failing to meet this goal once again. In a report entitled “Missed deadline: the delayed promise of newsroom diversity”, written by student reporters in the Asian American Journalist’s Association’s Voices program,  five of the nation’s major newspapers were asked about their racial makeup of their newsroom staff, and it was shown that no more than 30 percent of the staff in any of the newsrooms were comprised with minorities. This information follows suit of the ASNE yearly diversity survey for 2018, which shows that minorities make up 22.6 of the workforce in newsrooms across the country. While this is an impressive statistic compared to 2017 where only 16.5 percent of newsrooms were comprised of minority staff members, there is still a lot of work to be done in the realm of diversity in journalism.  

 

     Diversity in the newsroom is not only good for the aspect of allowing everyone equal opportunity to have certain jobs, it also brings along with it the opportunity for diversity in the perspectives on the stories that are written. Very often we see the same types of stories written on people of a certain demographic. One group of people that are largely left out of the conversation when talking about diversity, is those who are disabled. Being an individual with a physical disability myself, I have first-hand experience with witnessing the types of stories that are consistently written on the disabled community. Too often, we see stories written on the “inspirational” things going on in the world being done by or for those who are disabled. What is being created by these stories is a lack of inclusion and a stigma that those who are disabled are lacking in ability from the everyday non-disabled person. Too often, journalists see disability solely as a medical story or an inspirational feature story. These misrepresent the disability experience as uniquely tragic or pitiful, instead of a part of everyday life. Disability advocates want reporters to consider how society itself creates disability, through architectural, occupational, educational, communicational, and attitudinal barriers to people who are physically different. They say society is what is broken and needs to be fixed, not individuals with disabilities,” says an article from the Society of Professional Journalists. If we had more stories written from newsrooms with staff members who are of the disabled community, we would see a much more well-rounded perspective on the lives of those who are disabled, as well as the important issues that are being overlooked and need to be addressed when it comes to the disabled community.  

 

References 

 

Society of Professional Journalists. (2019) . Covering Disability Issues. Retrieved          

      from http://writingcenter.ashford.edu/format-your-reference- 

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American Society of News Editors (2018). ASNE’s 2018 Diversity Survey. Retrieved      

      from https://www.asne.org/diversity-survey-2018