Monday, April 11, 2011

Women score a few jobs in shrinking newsrooms

(Click to enlarge)
I wrote around this time last year about the annual newsroom census released by the American Society of News Editors and how women had fared over the decade. This year, the ASNE numbers show, women gained a few jobs (180) over 2010, but are still way off the totals seen in 2001.

In fact, the number of women in the newsroom (15,360) is down some 27 percent (5,702) from a decade earlier (21,062), mirroring the overall drop in the total census from a decade ago. In 2001, 56,393 men and women worked in the newsroom vs. 41,608 today. And we all know how the recession and growing online options pummeled newspaper advertising, leading to the Great Belt-Tightening and Newsroom Purge of 2007-10.

But it's interesting to see, in the ASNE chart above, how women have gained a bit of supervisory authority over the decade (the red pen marks drawing the comparisons are mine). Bear in mind, however, that the ranks of newsroom supervisors shrank in the decade, as the overall census declined. Since 2001, the ASNE numbers show, newsrooms have lost 2,900 supervisors' slots.

ASNE, which conducts the annual census to track newsroom diversity, bemoaned the losses seen by minorities, even as layoffs gave way to some cautious hiring at newspapers. By race, white men and women gained ground from a year earlier, while fewer black women, black men, Hispanic men and Asian men were reported in newsrooms. The ASNE numbers show about 15 more Hispanic women in newsrooms, while the ranks of Asian women are unchanged.

“The U.S. Census numbers clearly tell us that people-of-color populations are growing while our newsrooms aren't reflecting that growth," Ronnie Agnew, co-chair of ASNE’s Diversity Committee, said in a prepared statement. "This should be a concern to all who see diversity as an accurate way of telling the story of a new America.”

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