TV broadcast companies fall short when it comes to diversity in the top ranks of news management. According to a study released Thursday (Aug. 6) by the National Association of Black Journalists, only 11.7 percent of news managers in the nation’s newsrooms are people of color. That’s down significantly from last year’s Television Management Diversity Census, which found that people of color comprised 16.6 percent of the news managers.
The study was based on a count of executive producers, managing editors, assistant news directors, news directors and general managers at 111 stations owned by ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Hearst Television, Media General and Tribune. Of the 548 managers employed, only 65 were found to be people of color.
“These results should be a wake-up call to media owners who say they are serious about diversity in management,” said Barbara Ciara, president of the NABJ, which is holding its annual convention this week in Tampa, Fla. “At the end of the day, we find the number of African Americans who actually have the ability to hire or influence content falls woefully short of the desired goals.”
While the economy was a major reason cited for cutbacks to newsroom positions, diversity was adversely affected, the study found.
“This is not about the economy costing black journalists their jobs. When you have 111 stations, and in those stations, you have 65 managers of color, that’s not because of the economy. That tells you that there weren’t many there to begin with,” said Bob Butler, NABJ region VI director and author of the report of the study. “I think to a certain extent the old boys network still exists in television,” he said.