Abstract for an Analysis of Racial Diversity of Newspaper Staffs’ Effects on Reporting

The press is a ubiquitous but much maligned facet of American life. One of the most pressing problems it faces is its consistent inability to produce reporting that accurately represents minorities.[i] Given the distinct Whiteness of newspaper staffs and the perceived Whiteness of its reporting, many argue that diversified news staffs would make reporting more representative.[ii] Though intuitive, that solution is too simple. Newspapers are intricate organizations, and simply adding more racial or ethnic minorities is unlikely to solve the problem. My research will serve to increase our understanding of the workings of internal influences on newspaper outputs. Specifically, I am answering the extent to which the diversity of an American newspaper’s staff relative to the community it serves relates to the quantity (as a percentage of all local stories) and favorability (relative to all local stories) of local stories about racial and ethnic minorities in the area served.

 

[i] “African American and Hispanic Perceptions of How the News Media Covers Their Communities.” American Press Institute, 16 September 2014. https://www.americanpressinstitute.org/publications/reports/survey-research/african-american-and-hispanic-perceptions-coverage/.

[ii] Stewart, Alicia W. “Why Newsroom Diversity Works.” Nieman Reports, 10 June 2015. http://niemanreports.org/articles/why-newsroom-diversity-works/.

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