‘Trenchant Views’ From Media Women of Color

Joy Ann-Reid and Jon Favreau at the “Pod Save America” panel during Politicon at the Pasadena Convention Center on July 29, 2017, in California
Joy Ann-Reid and Jon Favreau at the “Pod Save America” panel during Politicon at the Pasadena Convention Center on July 29, 2017, in California
Photo: Joshua Blanchard (Getty Images for Politicon)

  • Report Cites Micro-Aggressions, Low Numbers
  • Public Favors Greater Diversity Among Journalists
  • Short Take
Female power players in digital media spoke to a standing-room-only audience in 2016 at the joint conference of the National Association of Black Journalists and National Association of Hispanic Journalists in Washington. (Credit: Cassie M. Chew/YouTube)

Report Cites Micro-Aggressions, Low Numbers

Fifty years after the Kerner Commission criticized the news media for not sufficiently covering race issues, a new special report shows that women of color continue to be underrepresented in U.S. newsrooms and face multiple challenges in achieving equality in hiring and promotions,” the Women’s Media Center announced on Tuesday.


The report, “The Status of Women of Color in the U.S. News Media 2018,” “offers a rare look at where women journalists of color are — and aren’t — in legacy print, radio, TV, and digital news. It is an important extension and extrapolation of data previously published in the Women’s Media Center’s annual ‘The Status of Women in the U.S. Media’ study, and includes data about minority journalists released after the most recent version of that report was produced in 2017.

‘Whether intentional or not, it seems like there is a cap on people of color in newsrooms,’ said Rummana Hussain, assistant metro editor, Chicago Sun-Times.”


Comparable figures for men of color are 8.58 percent in print and online, according to the annual survey of the American Society of News Editors; and 11.7 percent in local television and 5.5 percent in local radio, according to the Radio Television Digital News Association.

“Among the journalism professionals offering their trenchant views in the report on what’s broken for women journalists of color, and how to repair the breach are journalist and author Dana Canedy, the first black female and youngest person to helm the Pulitzer Prize organization; such marquee broadcast news leaders as Soledad O’Brien, Ann Curry, Maria Hinojosa and Joy Reid; MacArthur ‘genius grant’ winner Nikole Hannah-Jones; freelance journalist Jenni Monet; and women of far less fame who likewise excel in practicing their craft,” the news release continued.

“ ‘There are so many micro-aggressions that come with being a journalist and female and not White,’ according to Soledad O’Brien, founder and CEO, Starfish Media Group. ‘If you spend too much time seeing yourself — in terms of how they see you — as only those things, you will lose your mind. Because there are just a lot of slights.’ . . . ”

Cassie M. Chew, alldigitocracy.org: Shot Callers & Show Runners: Why more women of color are needed in newsroom leadership roles (Aug. 8, 2016)


Solomon Jones, Philadelphia Daily News: Remember that Obama-inspired post-racial society? America’s not even close

Nicole Lewis, Marshall Project: The Kerner Omission: How a landmark report on the 1960s race riots fell short on police reform


Carlos Lozada, Washington Post: 50 years ago, a presidential commission called out America’s ‘white racism.’ It didn’t go over well.

Richard Rothstein, Daily News, New York: 50 years after the Kerner Commission, minimal racial progress


Mary Schmich, Chicago Tribune: 50 years after landmark report on riots, Kerner Commission’s last survivor still worries about racism

Darren Walker, Columbia Journalism Review: Five decades after Kerner Report, representation remains an issue in media


Public Favors Greater Diversity Among Journalists

To mark the 50th anniversary of the Kerner Commission Report, the Ford Foundation is looking at the public perception of the news media today,” the foundation said on Feb. 27. “The Kerner Report was tasked with determining the factors that led to civil unrest in 1967 in Detroit, Newark, and elsewhere. One factor identified was the lack of adequate representation among the people assigning, reporting, and editing the media coverage. . . .”


Key findings [PDF]:

“A majority of people of all races think greater diversity among reporters and editors would improve the news. . . .


“About half of the population believes the media portrays race relations as worse than they actually are. . . .

People of all races agree that African Americans are more negatively portrayed in the media than in reality. . . .


“Nearly half of Hispanic Americans (45%) and African Americans (48%) believe that Hispanic Americans are portrayed more negatively than the reality. . . .

“Across races, most people, including Asian Americans themselves, think that Asian Americans are accurately portrayed by the media. . . .


“White Americans are almost three times as likely as African or Asian Americans to believe that they (whites) are portrayed more negatively in the media than the reality. . . .

More than 7 in 10 agree that fake news is a serious issue. . . .

“People of all races are generally feeling less optimistic about where America is headed. . . .


“While most people read the news daily (67%), the starkest differences are by age. . . .”

Short Take

NFL Scouting Combine

Last nite, some 40 Black journalists here for the Combine got together. You may wonder why it’s necessary to do this. It’s bc we all understand what it took for a group this large to become possible. Many predecessors fought to make this reality. Proud to call you all colleagues. pic.twitter.com/5t4eu04FKP

— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) March 2, 2018

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Richard Prince’s Journal-isms originates from Washington. It began in print before most of us knew what the internet was, and it would like to be referred to as a “column.” Any views expressed in the column are those of the person or organization quoted and not those of any other entity.


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