ASNE Study Finds Decline In Newsroom Diversity Continues

The ranks of people of color employed by U.S. newspapers declined for the third year in a row last year, according to an American Society of Newspaper Editors survey released today.

ASNE’s survey found that people of color accounted for 12.79 percent of full-time newspaper employees last year, down .47 percent from 2009. Of the 1,389 newspapers surveyed, 441 employed no people of color at all in the newsroom.

This decline has occurred as the audience the newspapers serve has become more diverse. The U.S. Census has reported that people of color make up 46 percent of the population. ASNE aims for newspaper newsrooms to achieve parity with the nation’s ethnic composition by 2025.

“The U.S. Census numbers clearly tell us that people of color populations are growing while our newsrooms aren’t reflecting that growth. This should be a concern to all who see diversity as an accurate way of telling the story of a new America,” said Ronnie Agnew, co-chair of ASNE’s Diversity Committee, in the organization’s press release.

The newsrooms also skew male — women accounted for 36.92 percent of full-time employees.

ASNE also reported that newsrooms added 100 employees total from 2009 to 2010, reversing a three-year decline.