Mainstream newsrooms remain overwhelmingly white as gender parity catches up

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In 2017, four percent of P&C's newsroom staff identified as African-American - JONATHAN BONCEK FILE PHOTO
  • Jonathan Boncek file photo
  • In 2017, four percent of P&C's newsroom staff identified as African-American

Most media organizations have worked toward more diverse newsrooms since the turn of the century. This is likely predicated on demographic changes in population and readership, as well as public pressure to better reflect the readers they serve. Still, gender parity in the country's newsrooms, though not fully reached by any stretch, has far outpaced racial diversity and inclusion since 2001.

The American Society of News Editors conducts an annual Newspaper Diversity Survey to keeps tabs on the people who decide what topics are worthy of discussion in cities throughout the country.

In Charleston, The Post & Courier has actually lost more than half its black newsroom staff since 2001. That year, 11 percent of its editorial staff was African-American. In 2017, only four percent of P&C's writers and editors were black in a paper serving a tri-county area that is 26 percent black, according to the latest census estimates. No one identified as Hispanic and only two percent of staff identified as Asian, making for a newsroom that is 94 percent white. Charleston's newspaper-of-record also lost in gender diversity, though those numbers are far closer to parity. The number of women in leadership positions at P&C went from 53 percent in 2001 to 40 percent in 2017. Major metropolitan newspapers show similar trends.



At The New York Times, a 7 percent black staff in 2017 wrote on behalf of a country that is 13 percent black. The newsroom is 81 percent white in a country that is only 61 percent white. Women in the Times newsroom, however, held 43 percent of the jobs.

The Washington Post reached full gender parity in 2017 — 50 percent of its editorial staff is made up of women. In contrast, a 5 percent Hispanic staff at the Post writes for a country that is 18 percent Hispanic. The Post's editorial staff is about 69 percent white and 14 percent black, one point above the percentage of African-Americans in the country.


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