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Highlights of a study on diversity in local television newsrooms

A scene of from a Local Television News where anchors were presenting news
Local News. Photo Credit: Lars Plougmann/Flickr

(August 13, 2020 | Media Diversity Forum) - Diversity in the newsroom has been a much-discussed topic in diversity and media research. It is such a topic that we need to revisit periodically to gauge the progress with the state of diversity in a newsroom. Newsroom diversity is also such a topic that has many dimensions.

A study, “The News Presenters and the People Who Lead Them,” conducted by Robert Richardson [1], presented in the recently-concluded AEJMC 2020 Convention, explored the relationship between racial and gender identities of news directors and general managers and racial and gender representation in the on-air talents. The goal of this study is to examine the diversity in local television newsrooms.

This study sample includes 193 television news stations representing 64 media markets in Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, and Southwest.

Below please find some key findings of Richardson’s study:

- White men and women held the highest percentage (73.22%) of on-air local newscasting positions, whereas non-White men and women held the fewest (26.78%) on-air roles.

- More non-white men and women held more “on-air talent roles in the Southeast and Southwest regions” (63.91%) “than in the Northeast and Midwest/Northwest” (42.07%).

- The race of a station’s general manager or news director was significantly related to the race of a station’s on-air talent.

For more details about Richardson’s study and study findings, please visit his AEJMC presentation. Robert Richardson is a doctoral student of journalism and media at The University of Texas at Austin.

Related Article:
2019 ASNE Newsroom Diversity Survey