As Country Gets More Diverse, Newspapers Do Not

Newsrooms cut black journalists and supervisors at a higher rate than ever before in 2009 while the minority communities they cover grow larger.

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Some troubling news from the print media world

Newsrooms cut black journalists and supervisors at a higher rate than ever before in 2009 while the minority communities they cover grow larger. As more African-American journalists lose their jobs, diversity in newsrooms has taken a back seat, according to a study released Sunday by the American Society of News Editors (ASNE).

"It is a travesty that minority journalists are being disproportionately cut in newsrooms across the country," said National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) President Kathy Y. Times. "Despite the economy and cutbacks, we must try to keep our newsrooms at least on parity with the communities we serve."

Newsroom jobs held by black journalists were slashed by an unprecedented 19.2 percent in 2009, nearly six percentage points higher than the previous year. Since 2001, African-Americans have a net loss of more than 30 percent of the positions they occupied in American newsrooms.

The NABJ Board of Directors is scheduled to meet in the Washington, D.C.-area this weekend to discuss the recent ASNE findings. NABJ has an action plan in the works for improving newsroom hiring and the retention of black journalists in print, broadcast, and online media.