Diversity’s Greatest Hits, 2012
A year in the quest for news media that look like America.
When the presidential campaign of 2012 finally ended with the reelection of President Obama, among the Election Day surprises was the demographic composition of the losing Republican base.
“. . . When it comes to audience, the American newspaper industry looks a lot like the Republican Party,” Ken Doctor wrote two days later for the Nieman Journalism Lab. “Consequently, its business reversals parallel the deepening Republican national electoral woes. The newspaper audience looks remarkably like the arithmetic that put Mitt Romney on the losing end Tuesday and is forcing Republicans to self-assess how to move forward. . . . The daily industry is doing okay with older, white people — mildly overperforming in print, digital, and combined.
“Among all other ethnic groups except Asian-Americans — off the charts with high overperformance for online news usage — newspapers are underperforming. They, like Mitt Romney, aren’t getting their share of the fastest growing population slices in the U.S. . . .”
Perhaps not coincidentally, the news media underestimated Obama’s ability to turn out the very groups underrepresented in the news media.
In October, the 4th Estate, a nonpartisan project to aggregate data around the 2012 elections, showed that more than 93 percent of front page articles on the presidential election were written by white reporters.