Monday, March 4, 2013—Karen Mitchell, assistant professor of convergence journalism at Missouri, and Drake alum, presented “Living the Struggle for Newsroom Diversity” for E.T. Meredith Magazine Center‘s visiting professional event.
Mitchell walked through the history of newsroom diversity, and shared some of her personal experiences and beliefs. I wasn’t surprised to hear about her struggles—I expected that—but I was surprised to hear her say that diversity in the newsroom is not getting better. According to ASNE there are 40,600 employees at daily newspapers. The minority population makes up 12%. The 4th Estate also broke down the numbers in this infographic. I’m Hispanic and this worries me. Why do we have this problem? Will it ever get better? Should it get better?
Mitchell was able to answer these questions, and said that she expects improvement (by 2050), but I’m still feeling nervous. I worry that like Mitchell, I too will always be a minority hire. I’m also concerned about where the problem starts. Does it start in journalism schools? High schools? Also, I don’t know if seeing an increase in the amount of minorities in newsrooms will help journalists work outside their own comfort zones. I read Beyond Newsroom Diversity: Should who covers what matter?, and it got me thinking about why I decide to work on certain stories.
We could go on and on about this topic, but I think Mitchell is right. Newsroom diversity is a daily fight, and we have to keep on fighting for inclusion if we want to get better. What are your thoughts?