Posted on May 30, 2014

As the New York Times’ First Black Executive Editor, Dean Baquet Is in a Distinct Minority

Monica Anderson, Pew Research, May 28, 2014

Just as the May 14 dismissal of New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson sparked a debate about gender roles in journalism, the ascension of Dean Baquet — the first African-American to run the paper’s newsroom — has renewed the focus on minority hiring in the news industry.

If Baquet is an historic figure at the Times, he is also part of a small minority at U.S. news outlets. Our data analysis finds that in newspaper newsrooms, the percentage of overall staffers and supervisors who are black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American or multiracial has remained virtually unchanged in the past two decades — accounting for about one in every 10 positions. The situation is slightly different in broadcast news, where minority staffers are still vastly outnumbered, but their presence has, in some cases, risen modestly.

According to the 2012 newspaper newsroom census from the American Society of News Editors (the latest available data), minorities account for 12% of the workforce. That represents virtually no change since 1994, when minorities represented 11% of newsroom employees and a decline from the high point of 14% in 2005. {snip}


However, it’s worth noting that the percentage of minorities has not changed during a period when newspapers shed nearly 16,000 jobs. ASNE data indicate that the number of minorities employed at newspapers dropped to 4,700 in 2012, which is 1,200 fewer than in 1994.


Additionally, nine percent of local TV general managers and 14% of news directors were minorities in 2012. That represents a modest increase for both positions since 2004. That year, minorities made up 7% of GMs and 12% of news directors. {snip}

The total percentage of minorities working in local radio news has increased from 8% in 2004 to 11% in 2012. {snip}