Diversity in News Media in the USA

Diversity in News Media. How many stories in the mainstream news media are about people of color? What are those stories about? How are blacks, Hispanics, Asians and people of other races portrayed in newspapers, television, Web sites, magazines and other media? What sorts of stereotypes are perpetuated? Should diverse communities be covered in news media? Whose job is it to make sure these communities are covered in news media?

Newsroom Workers

  • U.S. newspapers: Only 12 % of newspaper staffs are composed of minorities—any minorities.
  • About 37 % of newspaper staffs are composed of women, a number that has held steady for many years (ASNE).
  • Local television news: Minorities compose 21.8 % of staffs and the percentage is falling (RTNDA).
  • Women in TV compose 41.4 % of news staffs, an all-time high (RTNDA).

Women and news media

  • Studies have shown women are quoted as sources only 25 % of the time in front-page newspaper stories.
  • Women tend to fall into stereotypical categories when quoted in news media: wife, mother, victim and less often as authoritative and powerful.
  • Women rarely are quoted as experts on television news shows. ¢Only 15 female CEOs in the Fortune 500.
  • How are women portrayed in news media? How do these portrayals affect public perception?

Examples from the media

Hurricane Katrina and the two-photo controversy: http://www.flagarts.com/faculty-staff/Jennifer%20Spensieri/documents/HurricaneKatrina.pdf

What can you find?

Absence from news media

  • Symbolic annihilation: groups are trivialized or not acknowledged when they do not appear in media.
  • Can apply to women, minorities, non-mainstream religions, the poor, GLBT people.
  • When the same news is covered because it is considered important, what becomes of groups that are not covered in news media?
  • Are middle-aged, white males the focus of too much coverage? ¢How can coverage change and who should change it if it should be changed?
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