Landing an entry-level gig in a newsroom is no easy task.So what does it take to get a job in the industry right now? Applicants just need to be savvy, persistent—and it also helps a lot if they’re white.
While the media industry has changed drastically over the past decade or so, the demographic composition of newsrooms hasn’t. In 2014, all minority groups accounted for 22.4 percent of television journalists, 13 percent of radio journalists, and 13.34 percent of journalists at daily newspapers. Pretty pathetic, considering the fact that minorities make up 37.4 percent of the U.S. population. But walk into most major newsrooms in the U.S. and you’ll be overwhelmed by the whiteness and maleness of the editorial staff. Journalism certainly isn’t the only field that is notoriously and historically homogenous. But this is a big problem for an industry whose ambition is to serve and inform an increasingly diverse public.
In an analysis published in the Columbia Journalism Review, Alex T. Williams, a Ph.D. student at the University of Pennsylvania, addresses the question of why there are so few minorities in mainstream media. Williams debunks the notion that the cause is that there are few minorities who pursue journalism. Minorities made up 21.4 percent of graduates with degrees in journalism or communications between 2004 and 2014, but less than half of minority graduates found full-time jobs, while two-thirds of white graduates did.