Special Report

Gender, ethnic/racial minorities’ participation in AEJMC

By Mia Moody
Drs. Federico Subervi and Mia Moody will present data from their yearlong statistical analysis of the gender and racial makeup of AEJMC’s scholarship, board of directors and division officers at AEJMC’s 2012 national conference. Sponsored by the Minorities and Communication and Scholastic Journalism divisions, the PF&R panel will be held from 8:15 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 9.

The presentation titled, “Ethnic/ Racial Minorities Participation in AEJMC: How Much and What Type of Progress” will address the extent to which AEJMC is meeting its diversity goals in terms of the numeric involvement of people of color and women in leadership roles and their authorship of convention scholarship.

“Our goal is to present a critical assessment of the presence and participation of women and ethnic/ racial minorities in the fabric of AEJMC,” said Subervi, who planned the panel at the 2011 AEJMC annual conference. Subervi asked for collaborators on the project at the MAC committee meeting and Moody volunteered. “Our efforts are very important because we are documenting AEJMC’s progress in diversification,” Moody said. “We can’t expect to see change if there is no evidence of underrepresentation.”

Over the last year, Moody and research assistants have analyzed AEJMC electronic files to seek answers to the following research questions: 1) What have been the changes in AEJMC minority members since records have been kept? 2) To the extent that records show, what are the numbers of minorities, by gender, in the top leadership positions of AEJMC, e.g., president, on the board of directors representing the various standing committees, as well as heading the various divisions? 3) How many keynote speakers for AEJMC conventions have been persons of color? 4) How many plenary sessions have been dedicated to ethnic/ racial issues with invited panelists from such backgrounds? 5) How many research papers have been presented at each division dealing with minority issues?

Preliminary findings indicate that strides have been made for women; however, minorities tend to lag behind in AEJMC’s leadership positions. For example, there were 18 male officers from 2007 to 2011 and 58 female officers during the same period. Worth noting is most of the association’s presidents, four out of five (80%), were female. This trend was true of the other top two positions, president-elect and vice president. However, regarding race, Anglos made up the largest percentage of AEJMC officers from 2007 to 2011 (80%). The next largest group was African Americans, who made up 13%, followed by Hispanics and Asians, each of whom made up 2%. All five presidents were Anglo during these five years. The office of vice president was the highest position held by a non-white person.

“This trend continues in 2012,” stated Subervi, who looked at the demographic distribution of the 30 candidates nominated this year to AEJMC’s top leadership positions. In 2012, females made up 53% of AEJMC’s candidates. The next highest group, Asian Americans, made up 13% and African Americans made up 7%. There were no Latino/Hispanic candidates.

“I don’t know the current demographics of AEJMC, but I would venture to say there is a mismatch in the nominations vis-a-vis the minority membership,” Subervi stated. Subervi and Moodyís analysis of AEJMC abstracts of peer-reviewed articles indicate similar results. Very few of them focus on race-related issues.

“We are close to finishing our study,” Moody said. “It will be interesting to see if these patterns continue in the future.”

Subervi is professor and director of the Center for the Study of Latino Media & Markets at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Texas State University-San Marcos. He is the editor and an author of the book “The Mass Media and Latino Politics: Studies of U.S. Media Content, Campaign Strategies and Survey Research: 1984-2004” (NY: Routledge, 2008).

Moody is an assistant professor of journalism and media arts at Baylor University. She is the author of “Black and Mainstream Press’ Framing of Racial Profiling: A Historical Perspective” (University Press of America, 2009). Her research focuses on the framing of women and people of color, particularly in new media.

Back to Top