The next generation of news providers looks a whole lot like the old generation: they're mainly white and male. That's the new gist of an old and resurgent debate about diversity in new media newsrooms that NPR's Michel Martin tackled yesterday on "Tell Me More." It all boils down to who'll be providing news for 2042 America--and whether that group of talking heads and influencers will look much the same like the mainly white cast of today's Sunday talk shows.
In an open letter last week to new media ventures expected to become the next "New York Times" or "Wall Street Journal," (Buzzfeed, Vox, FiveThirtyEight, Politico, etc.) the National Association of Black Journalists invited principals for a diversity chat. And Buzzfeed editor Shani O. Hilton in a widely circulated to-do offered great analysis and one solution for both job seekers and employers: expand your networks.
Check out the above conversations. But other questions to ask if improving newsroom diversity in order to fairly cover America today and in 2042 is the goal: One, what's happening with the journalist pipeline? Namely, which students (and their families) can best afford to sustain multiple years of unpaid or poorly paid internships in order to become competitive in the field? And two, what's the FCC's role if any in ensuring that newsrooms accurately reflect and cover their communities--particularly those who are underserved?
Individual actions like better and broad networking by both employers and applicants are important. But, structural issues play a part in shaping this newsroom diversity conversation, too.
(h/t Tell Me More)