Good news for minority newsers


A long-standing downtrend in the minority news workforce has emphatically reversed and numbers are up on the television side as well, according to a study released by the Radio Television News Directors Association. RTNDA is also reporting a record number of women holding down the news director position at US television stations. However, the percentage of minorities working in broadcast t news rooms still has a ways to go to catch up with the percentage of minorities in the total population.

The total minority population for 2008 is listed at 34%; minorities made up 23.6% in television news, up from 21.5% in 2007; and it went to 11.8% from 6.2% over the same span on the radio side. According to RTNDA, it was the best total for television since 2001 and the second-best ever. Radio’s total reversed a lengthy downslide, but it was as high as 14.7% back in 1995.

Hispanics were responsible for gains on the television side, rising from 8.7% to 10.3% from 2007 to 2008, while African Americans held steady at 10.1% both years. Asian Americans rose from 2.3% to 2.7%, and Native Americans rose from 0.4% to 0.5%.

On the radio side, African Americans were very much part of the increase, going from 3.3% to 7.8%; Hispanics rose from 0.7% to 3.3%. However, Asian American share dropped from 1.1% to 0.4% and Native Americans dropped from 1.1% all the way to 0%