2019 ASNE Newsroom Diversity Survey Visualizations Now Available


Columbia, MO (Oct. 30, 2019) - Journalists of color make up nearly a third of the full-time workforce among online-only news organizations, according to data collected in the 2019 ASNE Newsroom Diversity Survey. The survey reflects newsroom demographics as they existed on Dec. 31, 2018.

The data visualizations for this year’s survey, provided by Google News Lab, are now available at https://googletrends.github.io/asne2019. Our website, newsleaders.org/diversity, includes the updated components to accompany our data.

According to the data, some 30.8 percent of salaried workers at online-only publications are people of color, a gain of 5 percentage points over last year’s figures, in which people of color comprised 24.6 percent of journalists employed in newsrooms with no print presence.

Participation in the 2019 ASNE Newsroom Diversity Survey climbed more than five percentage points to 22.8 percent this year, from a historic low of 17 percent in the 2018 survey. The participating organizations reflect the diversity of news and information outlets serving communities across the country, including legacy newspapers, multi-city digital media start-ups, business publications and issue-specific sites.

Among online-only newsrooms, women make up 50 percent of salaried workers, a figure that is unchanged from the 2018 survey data. Women make up 41.8 percent of all newsroom workers (in both print/digital and online-only newsrooms) in this year’s survey, a very slight increase from 41.6 percent last year. 

Overall, people of color represent 21.9 percent of the salaried workforce among newsrooms that responded to this year's Newsroom Employment Diversity Survey. While encouraging, these figures cannot be generalized to interpret the landscape of the U.S. journalism industry as a whole because the survey relies on information collected from a convenience sample of organizations that volunteer to participate. 

Nearly 200 journalists who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender completed an additional self-administered survey that was offered this year, which was distributed through a link forwarded to newsrooms, and via the Association of Gay and Lesbian Journalists’ weekly newsletter. Of the journalists who completed the self-administered survey, 78 percent identified as white, while 7.5 percent identified as African American or Black. Another 7.5 percent identified as biracial or multiracial, and nearly 3 percent identified as Asian.

The survey is key to helping the news industry build more diverse and inclusive journalism communities. ASNE, and now NLA, uses this tool, among others, to encourage newsrooms across the nation to be transparent. We commend those news organizations that release their diversity numbers as a way to demonstrate and track their commitment to equality and representation in journalism, and encourage others to do the same.

“As an industry, we can not fairly and accurately cover our communities if our staffs fail to reflect the diversity among us,” said Katrice Hardy, who chairs the NLA’s diversity committee. “These surveys and the data visualizations and other tools aimed at improving diversity and inclusion among our news organizations are critical to our industry’s future.”

“The data in this year’s visualizations present a stark and sad reality. For all of the efforts to diversify the country’s newsrooms, the power of leadership largely remains the domain of white men,” said Meredith Clark, lead researcher and an assistant professor at the University of Virginia.

“It’s a problem no pipeline and no single-solution programming can address,” Clark said. “In our research with journalists of color from across the country last year, we heard about the implications of maintaining the status-quo at the leadership levels in the newsroom. The diversity and representation numbers will continue to churn at the entry, early and mid-career levels until comprehensive cultural reform is prioritized among middle managers.”

Among respondents, the number of organizations with at least one non-white person in one of the top three newsroom leadership roles fell slightly, down from 27.8 percent in last year’s survey to 26.4 percent. In print/digital newsrooms, the decline was more significant from 28.1 percent to 25.6 percent. That number was up a single percentage point among online-only newsrooms, to 29 percent from 28 percent the year prior. 

Overall, people of color make up only 18.8 percent of newsroom managers at both print/digital and online-only publications. 40.51 percent of management roles are filled by women among organizations that participated in the 2019 survey. 

The results summarize responses from 429 news organizations, including 267 newspapers and 65 online-only news sites (some organizations did not specify). Organizations that wish to submit their data can do so here; the graphic will be updated periodically. 

The News Leaders Association will continue to advocate for a diverse and inclusive workforce.

ASNE continued its partnership with the Google News Lab, which has produced data visualizations of this year's survey results and historical data dating back to 2001. The News Lab's interactive website will serve as a visual archive of the ASNE survey data, in addition to the diversity page at newsleaders.org

ASNE also continues to partner with the Democracy Fund, which helped create a more comprehensive and data-driven survey that catalogues newsroom diversity numbers for U.S. print and online publications. The Knight Foundation is also a key supporter of the annual survey.

In 2012, the ASNE Diversity Committee created the Minority Leadership Institute to train and develop up-and-coming, mid-level newsroom leaders and connect them with a network of established ASNE leaders. In 2016, ASNE rebranded the program as the Emerging Leaders Institute to include all emerging leaders with diverse backgrounds. ASNE has hosted more than 20 institutes since the first one in 2012.

The American Society of News Editors has officially completed its merger with the Associated Press Media Editors to become the News Leaders Association, and will continue to offer leadership training in 2020.

For detailed tables, click here.

This year’s survey research was conducted by Meredith D. Clark, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Media Studies at the University of Virginia, and administered by Kara Fitzgibbon, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Survey Research at the University of Virginia.

About the American Society of News Editors

The American Society of News Editors focuses on leadership development and journalism-related issues. Founded in 1922 as a nonprofit professional organization, ASNE promotes fair, principled journalism; defends and protects First Amendment rights; and fights for freedom of information and open government. Leadership, innovation, diversity and inclusion in coverage and the journalism work force, opinion journalism, news literacy and the sharing of ideas are also key ASNE initiatives.

About Democracy Fund

The Democracy Fund invests in organizations working to ensure that our political system is able to withstand new challenges and deliver on its promise to the American people. We believe the best days of American democracy lie ahead. Bipartisan solutions can modernize our elections. Digital advances can help people engage in civic life. New incentives can encourage political leaders to find principled compromise and address our country’s greatest challenges. The Democracy Fund is a resource for those who want to strengthen our nation’s democracy. We invest in change makers whose ideas and energy can make a difference. We advocate for solutions that can bring lasting improvement to our political system. We build bridges that help people come together to serve the nation, moving us closer to the ideal of a government of, by, and for the people.

About Google News Lab

The News Lab is a team within the Google News Initiative whose mission is to collaborate with journalists and entrepreneurs to drive innovation in news. Offering partnerships and training in over 50 countries, the News Lab brings the best of Google technology to tackle important challenges in journalism today.

About Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit knightfoundation.org.

About the University of Virginia’s Department of Media Studies

The Media Studies Department is focused on the forms and effects of media: books, radio, film, television, photography, print, digital and electronic media. It is critically engaged with the creative analysis, production, and research into traditional and emerging forms of media. The department emphasizes digital media through approaches to its history, theory, and technology and their impact upon contemporary life. Subjects of study include: aesthetics and form; individual perception; the history of media; the ethics and effects of media in the arena of policy studies; the social impact of media on public opinion; and the relations between media and the law.

About The Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education

The Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education promotes diversity in the news media through improved coverage, hiring, business practices and training programs that equip journalists with leadership, multimedia skills and subject expertise for news organizations across platforms. Their primary mission is to ensure that all segments of our diverse society are fairly, accurately and credibly portrayed.

About the News Leaders Association

The American Society of News Editors and the Associated Press Media Editors have joined forces to become the News Leaders Association. NLA aims to foster and develop the highest standards of trustworthy, truth-seeking journalism; to advocate for open, honest and transparent government; to fight for free speech and an independent press; to nurture the next generation of news leaders committed to spreading knowledge that informs democracy. Our goal is for all citizens to be informed by accurate, truthful, independent reporting so they can demand the best from our democratic institutions.