Fewer black US reporters than in 1968

America’s newspapers, including many that for years decried the lack of black representation in Congress, on Wall Street and in corporate boardrooms, have not increased the percentage of African-Americans in newsrooms above 1968 levels — and may have even cut the numbers.

According to a report on the Columbia Journalism Review and census data from the American Society of News Editors, blacks in newsrooms represent 4.78 percent of the staff. In 1968, the year of race riots following the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., LBJ’s National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders put the number of blacks in newsrooms at “less than 5 percent.”

CJR’s Alex T. Williams said the numbers are higher when all minorities are included, according the ASNE survey, but still a tiny 13.34 percent.

“The percentage of minorities employed in daily newspapers (the ASNE looks at black, Hispanic, Asian American, Native American, and multiracial populations) has increased from 3.95 percent in 1978, when the ASNE began conducting the census, to 13.34 percent in 2014. The Radio Television Digital News Association estimates that in 2014, minorities made up 13 percent of journalists in radio and 22.4 percent of journalists in television,” wrote Williams.

“Still, these figures are a far cry from the 37.4 percent of Americans that are minorities,” Williams added.

The figures for Washington reporters aren’t much different. Secrets recently interviewed American Urban Radio Networks White House correspondent April Ryan who determined that just 10 percent of White House regulars are black.

The author of The Presidency in Black and White said, “I’ve come out of that lower press room door, past the podium, or walked by and looked into that crowd. It shocks me sometimes. I’m like, ‘Wow!'”

It’s not an education thing. Other figures in the report said that minorities account for 24.2 percent of journalism or communications majors at colleges and universities. And they accounted for 21 percent of graduates from those programs.

The problem seems to be that minorities don’t get the job offers.

Overall, 49 percent of minority graduates found jobs versus 66 percent of white graduates.

Source: The Examiner