Twenty-first century Americans have the luxury of finding out the news through several outlets: print, radio, television and Internet. The output of each of these outlets will more than likely resemble each other very closely. That is because the majority of the myriad of newspapers, websites, and television and radio stations are all owned by less than a dozen corporations (1). Furthermore, these corporations are headed by the same type of mind—the one residing in a rich white man.
These rich white men can ensure their corporation maintains their values and beliefs by hiring other rich white men, who in turn hire even more rich white men. By the time we reach the newsroom of any media outlet, diversity is scarce because few people other than white men have been hired. Women and minorities are left to fight for a position in a dominated newsroom.
In a country as diverse as the ”melting pot” of America, the numbers reflecting newsroom diversity should be considered a disgrace. While 37% of the U.S. population is non-white minorities, minorities make up only 13% of the newsroom (2.) In addition, women make up only 36.1% of the newsroom (3.) Because the newsroom is dominated by white men, issues important to women and minorities are often not covered in the news. If they are, coverage might not be from the perspective of a woman or minority. More issues revolving diversity in the newsroom are covered in this video:
In this video, Keith Kountz, an African American television news anchor, says (3:17) that it’s important to have a diverse group of people in story meeting to yield diverse perspective. “If only one group of people is speaking… you might not get all the shades of gray.” (4). Jocelyn Maminita, a female Asian-American television reporter, explains (2:10) that when a minority is hired in the newsroom, it is important for that minority to prove themselves through hard work. Otherwise, poor performance could impact the next minority who applies for a job in the newsroom.
In instant that echoes Maminita’s theory occurred in 2003 when New York Times Journalist Jayson Blair was caught plagiarizing. He was subsequently fired. However his poor decisions led newsrooms to believe that diversity was not necessary. This was because Blair was promoted under the Affirmative Action program. Newsrooms suggested then that many journalists of color were not talented journalists and when being hired and promoted were only done so because of the Affirmative Action program (5.)
There are media outlets available that do not follow the standards of rich white men. Websites such as Women’s Media Center give women the opportunity to work in the news media field. WMC not only discusses the lack of diversity in the newsroom but offers stories that focus on women-oriented issues through the perspective of a woman. WMC was founded by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan, and Gloria Steinem on the basis that women are misrepresented in the media. By contributing to the face of media with content written by women, they are contributing to the face of media (6.)