San Diego, CA–The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) calls upon the top television ownership groups to make more of an effort to improve diversity in their management ranks. At the same time, NABJ is committed to working with these companies to train the next generation of newsroom managers.
In data released recently, the Third Annual Television Newsroom Management Diversity Census shows the need for the development, promotion, and retention of newsroom managers of color.
Newsrooms are encouraged to reflect the diversity of the communities they serve. Non-whites comprise more than one-third of the United States population but the study of 151 stations finds that people of color comprise only 12.6% of newsroom managers.
Out of 815 executive producers, assignment managers, managing editors, assistant news directors, news directors and general managers at the ABC, CBS, Cox, FOX, Gannett, Hearst Argyle, Media General, Meredith, NBC and Tribune stations 713 (87.9%) are White, 64 (7.8%) are African American, 24 (3%) are Hispanic/Latino, 13 (1.6%) are Asian and only 1 is Native American. The management teams at 82 of the stations are all White.
“It is disheartening in 2010 that four of the media companies in the report have no African American news directors and so many of the companies have no black news director in some of the most diverse cities in America,” said NABJ President Kathy Y. Times. “It’s time for African American viewers to reconsider their support of media companies that do not appreciate or make diversity a priority.”
NABJ first began conducting its annual census as a way of encouraging broadcasters to commit to hiring more people of color for editorial positions. Still, the association believes true progress cannot be made unless the companies fully commit to developing talent who can then be promoted from within.
“We began meeting with media company executives shortly after the first report was released in 2008,” said study author and NABJ Vice President of Broadcast Bob Butler. “Some of these companies are now reaching out to NABJ for candidates to fill management openings in their newsrooms.”
NABJ also applauds NBC television stations for most closely reflecting the diversity of the nation with people of color comprising 24.2% of the company’s newsroom managers.
That compares favorably to Meredith Corporation where non-whites comprise only 6 percent of all newsroom managers. Meredith owns 12 stations, some in diverse cities such as Atlanta, Hartford and Kansas City.
Without commenting specifically on the numbers, Meredith Broadcasting Group President Paul Karpowicz said the company is very supportive of NABJ.
“We’d be happy to work with NABJ and we’ll be in San Diego recruiting for when positions open up in our newsrooms.”
NABJ’s leadership hopes to partner with any broadcast group or news outlet that seeks ways to make diversity a priority. It can assist in the recruitment of talented newsroom leaders.
The organization is launching its own Executive Training Program at the San Diego Convention to prepare the next generation of resourceful and innovative newsroom managers and station leaders.