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Date: Jul 28, 2008
Women and Journalists of Color Advance in Local Broadcast News
2008 RTNDA/Hofstra University survey shows significant increases in numbers, leadership positions
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY – The percentage of journalists of color and women working in local television and radio news rose in 2007, as did the percentage of both groups in newsroom leadership positions, according to a survey by the Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) in conjunction with Bob Papper, Hofstra professor and chair of its Journalism, Media Studies, and Public Relations Department.
The 2008 RTNDA/Hofstra University Annual Survey shows that minorities comprised 23.6 percent of local television news staffs, an increase over the 21.5 percent result in 2006, and the second highest percentage since the peak in 2001. The number of Asian Americans, Native Americans and Hispanic journalists all increased, while the number of African Americans remained steady at 10.1 percent of the workforce.
"In 14 years of doing this research, these are probably the best results, overall, that I've seen for women and minorities in TV news," said Professor Papper. "In what appears to be an era of ‘doing more with less,’ it's heartening that there still appears to be a commitment to diversity in TV news." Professor Papper was referring to widespread budget and staff cuts in news media.
"I’m pleased we are still seeing progress in diversity in electronic newsrooms," Barbara Cochran, RTNDA president, said last week during the UNITY convention in Chicago attended by thousands of minority journalists. "There is still more to be done to help newsrooms keep pace with the growing diversity of the U.S. population and RTNDA will continue to provide resources and share best practices to assist with those efforts."
At non-Hispanic stations, the minority workforce was 20.1 percent, an increase of the previous year's 19.4 percent. Asian Americans and African-Americans gained ground while the number of Hispanic and Native American journalists remained the same.
In local radio, the minority workforce was 11.8 percent, the first increase after a steady decline for more than a decade.
The percentage of minority television news directors reached an all-time high of 15.5 percent, up from 10.9 percent in 2006. In radio, the percentage of minority news directors returned to 5.9 percent, down from the previous year's spike, but more in line with earlier percentages. Measurement of minority news directors in radio fluctuates each year based on which stations complete the survey.
Women in Local News
At 40.2 percent, there was no significant change in the percentage of women in the television news workforce in 2007, but the number of women news directors reached an all-time high of 28.3 percent. Furthermore, women are as likely to be found as news directors in the largest markets as in the smallest, something that has not been the case in the past.
In radio, the picture for women was not as good. The percentage of women fell again in 2007 from 24.4 percent to 22.7 percent. The percentage among news directors also fell back to the 2005 levels of 20 percent after rising to 23.5 percent in 2006.
RTNDA published the survey in the July/August issue of Communicator, RTNDA's monthly magazine.
The RTNDA/Hofstra University Survey was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2007 among all 1,647 operating, non-satellite television stations and a random sample of 2,000 radio stations. Valid responses came from 1,241 television stations (75.3 percent) and 138 radio news directors and general managers representing 271 radio stations. Data for women TV news directors are from a complete census and are not projected from a smaller sample.
RTNDA is the world’s largest professional organization devoted exclusively to electronic journalism. RTNDA represents local and network journalists in broadcasting, cable and other electronic media in more than 30 countries.
Hofstra University is a dynamic private institution where students can choose from more than 140 undergraduate and 155 graduate programs in liberal arts and sciences, business, communication, education and allied human services, and honors studies, as well as a School of Law. The Hofstra community is driven, dynamic and energetic, helping students find and focus their strengths to prepare them for a successful future.
Related Link: A more complete survey report on the survey is at: