USA Today newsroom improving its diversity hiring

Image Via USA Today

USA TODAY, reported on September 1, that their newsroom is now majority female, and has sees gains in Black, Hispanic and Asian American journalists. In a recent staff survey about diversity and inclusion in the newsroom. The newspaper reports that “women were 51.7% of all journalists. We also made strides in the percentage of Black (13.6%), Hispanic (10.1%) and Asian American (7%) journalists. Overall, the newsroom was 34% journalists of color.”

According to USA TODAY, the survey did not currently include data on sexual orientation or gender identity. The paper said their “goal is to reflect the diversity of the U.S. by 2025; to be able to fully and accurately report the stories of our country,” they write, “we must reflect it.”

Much has been written, increasingly over the last couple of years, about the importance of diversity in the newsroom. It is one of the most important challenges and opportunities in media and journalism. In 2020, the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism surveyed newsroom leaders from 38 countries to gather insight into how the issues facing society are impacting the news coverage that is being served to the public.

The Reuters executive summary sets up the context for the research:

The year 2020 has meant deep disruption for journalism as the global COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected people’s health, habits, and livelihoods. Journalists play a central role in reporting on these changes even while simultaneously being personally affected by them. Lockdowns and safety restrictions have changed the way news is produced, with long hours and extensive remote working making communication and day-to-day production more complex. COVID-19 has also increased economic uncertainty after a steep decline in advertising revenues, leading to widespread layoffs and increased pressure on an already challenged industry.

At the same time, high-profile events have brought to the surface a series of social and generational changes and fundamental disagreements that are testing newsrooms in other ways. The killing of George Floyd in Minnesota and the Black Lives Matter protests have helped focus attention on racial injustice and social inequality and led to questions around the media’s coverage of these issues. Prompted also by the #MeToo movement, documented instances of sexual abuse and harassment in the media, and continued disclosure of gender pay gaps, newsrooms across the world have been wrestling with how to confront enduring forms of social inequality internally and how to better represent audiences through greater diversity in their news coverage.

Reuters Institute

Journalism and media outlets need more successful initiatives to invest in media makers of color. It’s essential that those who are reporting the stories and the history of our times are reflective of all the communities who are living those experiences.

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