The number of journalists of color in daily newspaper and online-only newsrooms declined for the third consecutive year, the American Society of News Editors reported Thursday in disclosing the results of its annual diversity survey.
Minority journalists declined from 5,500 to 5,300, though overall, “American newspapers showed a very slim increase in newsroom employees last year, finally halting a three-year exodus of journalists,” ASNE said.
The decline in journalists of color contrasts with the news industry’s stated goal of parity with the number of people of color in the general population by 2025, and as demographic changes show the nation heading toward majority-minority status.
The percentage of minorities in newsrooms totaled 12.79 percent, a decline of .47 of a percentage point from a year ago. Asian Americans dropped from 3.27 percent in 2010 to 3.10 in 2011; African Americans from 4.88 percent in 2010 to 4.68 in 2011; Hispanics from 4.63 percent in 2010 to 4.54 in 2011; and Native Americans constant at .48 percent.
Black journalists have been particularly affected as newsrooms downsize or individuals seek a more secure line of work.
Last year, ASNE noted that “there were 929 fewer black journalists in the 2010 survey than were recorded in 2001, a drop of 31.5 percent. The number of Native American journalists dropped by 52, or 20.9 percent in the same period. Hispanic representation declined by 145, or 7 percent. The number of white journalists fell by 10,400, or 20.9 percent.”
ASNE said it also surveyed the staffs at 61 online-only newspapers. Fifty percent returned their survey forms, compared with more than 59 percent response rate from 1,389 daily newspapers.
Once again, some well-known online organizations that had declined to participate previously were missing: Salon.com, Yahoo, the Daily Beast, Politico, AOL and Huffington Post. However, MinnPost, which reported no journalists of color, ProPublica, which reported 20 percent, and the New York operation of Patch.com did so. Patch reported 13.6 percent.