RTDNA: TV Newsroom Diversity at All-Time High

TV newsrooms are more diverse than at any time since it has been tracking the numbers, according to the Radio-Television Digital News Association and a new study in tandem with Hofstra University.

Other takeaways from the latest installment of the 2018 newsroom survey are that Spanish-language stations surveyed for the first time had no other minority staffers than Hispanics, and among all affiliated stations, Fox affiliates had the closes parity between men and women.

Related: TV Station News on Record Run

According to the research, about a quarter (24.8%) of newsroom staffers are people of color--11.&% African American, 10.8% Hispanic or Latino, 2% Asian and .3% Native American.

That is still well below minority representation in the population as a whole, which is about 38%. According to the latest census figures, African Americans make up 13.4% of the population, Latinos or Hispanics 18.1%, Asians 5.8% and Native Americans 1.5% including Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders.

The survey found that the percentage of women in TV newsrooms and in management is also at an all time high of 44.4%, up .4% from 2016 and .2% over the previous record year, 2015.

But while the percentage of minorities in the population has increased 12.4 percentage point in the last 28 years, the percentage in the TV newsroom work force is up just 7%.

Still, that 24.8% is now the record, surpassing the previous record set in 2001. The survey also found that 95% of the newsrooms have at least one minority, and in all of the top 50 markets.

The survey was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2017 among 79.2% of TV stations (1,333 valid responses).

Spanish-Language TV appears to be something of a closed shop. The survey found that 93.6% of TV news staffers at those stations are Hispanic, with the other 6.4% white. For the first time, the survey found no African Americans, Native Americans, or Asian Americans working at any of the Spanish-language stations polled.

The survey found that affiliation had little impact on the numbers, though RTDNA pointed out that Fox affiliates are closer to equal numbers of men and women than other affiliates.

Overall, 98.8% of TV stations have at least one woman on staff, but surprisingly, a few stations with newsrooms staffs of up to 20 or in markets 151+ still report no women on the news team.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.