Survey: Women Up, Minorities Down for Local News

The percentage of women working in local TV and radio news hit an all-time high, while the percentage of journalists of color fell, according to the 2009 Radio and Television News Directors Association/Hofstra University Annual Survey.

Women in TV news reached an all-time high of 41.4 percent, as did women TV news directors at 29.1 percent. The percentage of women working in radio also rose from 22.7 percent last year to 28.1 percent in 2009; women make up 27.7 percent of radio news directors.

But minorities made up just 21.8 percent of local TV news staffs, a decrease from 23.6 percent in 2008. The percentage of minority TV news directors dropped slightly, with the sharpest decline in Hispanic news directors.

Hispanics in local TV news fell from 10.3 percent last year to 8.8 percent this year. Asian American journalists in broadcast news increased, while the percentage of Native Americans remained the same. African Americans in local news decreased by half a percentage point. At non-Hispanic stations, the minority workforce was down half a percentage point to 19.6 percent.

“While the increase in the number of women serving as news directors is encouraging, the drop in the percentage of minorities employed in newsrooms is not,” said Stacey Woelfel, RTNDA chairman. “It is my hope the gains made in the last few years to make our newsrooms more diverse were not lost in the recent economic downturn.”