SEATTLE—Journalists of color represented only 13.87 percent of the staff in America's daily newsrooms in 2005, according to the American Society of Newspaper Editors' 29th annual newsroom census, released recently.
That percentage represented a nearly invisible increase from last year's census, which identified 13.42 percent of daily journalists as belonging to racial and ethnic minority groups.
About one-quarter of U.S. daily newspapers do not employ a single minority journalist. This year, 377 newspapers reported no minority newsroom employees.
The results show daily newspapers are lagging badly in the goal adopted by the society of achieving a parity by 2025 between the percentage of minority journalists working in daily newsrooms and the percentage of people of color in the U.S. general population.
The organization established three-year "benchmarks" to check progress toward the goal. The benchmark for this year's census was a minority newsroom percentage of 18.55 percent.
"While it's encouraging that the number of minority staffers in American newsrooms is up, the increase — 0.45 percent — is almost imperceptible," said society Diversity Chair Sharon Rosenhause, managing editor of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. "The most troubling aspect of the census is the benchmark categories. None are even close."
This year's census showed increases — albeit very slight increases — in the percentage of representation of all four minority groups tracked.
African Americans are the most numerous newsroom group, with 3,050 employees representing 5.56 percent of newsroom employment. Hispanics were the second-largest group, representing 4.51 percent with 2,474 employees. The 1,768 Asian American newsroom employees represented 3.23 percent of the workforce, and the 309 Native American employees 0.56 percent, the organization found.