Black Journalists Hardest Hit by Newsroom Cuts

Troubling piece by Richard Prince on his Maynard Institute blog. Citing figures from a recent American Society of News Editors newsroom survey, Prince writes that newsrooms have shed 25 percent of their full-time staff jobs since 2001, and amidst that carnage, black journalists have been hit harder than any other racial/ethnic group.

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.

However, the number of Asian American journalists increased by 57, or 4.4 percent, according to the survey, in which news organizations report their own figures.

Perhaps even more interesting, new media, which accounts for arguably the majority of media hires these days, doesn’t have an especially good track record with minority hiring. For instance Politico just recently lost its only black reporter Nia-Malika Henderson. Prince can’t pinpoint exactly how bad the situation is because most online news sites, like AOL, The Daily Best, Talking Points Memo and Salon did not respond to surveyors.

The organizations that did respond showed new media minority hiring to be about 20 percent — compared with 33 percent of the U.S. population. That 20 percent figure is skewed because one of the respondents was “The Root” — which focuses on DC’s black community and has a 100 percent African-American staff.