Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A diverse country faces diversity issues

Kevin Soncrant

Diversity Facts
As a country the United States population continues to grow at a rapid pace. With this rapid growth comes an even more rapid growth of minorities and some very interesting diversity facts. In fact the growth of the black population has far outpaced the growth of the white population and population as a whole in the past 20 years. Despite the rapid growth of minorities, journalists and the workplace as a whole still face a slew of diversity issues.

Diversity issues in the workplace can include a lack of diversity in the office, workplace discrimination and a ceiling to promotions for minority workers. Companies are trying to combat these issues in the workplace but success is not always guaranteed. Some companies use corporate diversity programs, which are intended to increase cultural diversity in the workplace. However, these programs can be seen as merely a public relations effort to overcome past controversies.

One major diversity issue is the lack of diversity in the media world. The problem lies in the fact that it is becoming more and more difficult for minorities to relate to media because they are not extremely involved in the release of news. According to the article, “Race, Ethnicity, and Student Sources…” the proportion of racially or ethnically diverse TV journalists remains stagnant at about 21%. The news becomes even more devastating when looking at print newsrooms, which show that less than 14% of America’s newspaper workforce is minority. Clearly the lack of diversity in the media is a major issue but is there a clear solution? One possible answer is highly controversial.

A long debated issue involving diversity in the workplace is affirmative action. Affirmative action has attempted to increase diversity in the workplace. However, there is a belief that affirmative action has led to the hiring of unqualified minorities over much more qualified majorities. The actual influence that affirmative action has had on the workplace has been debated ever since its induction. But the reality is that it is quite sad that we ever thought affirmative action was necessary.

It is obvious that equal opportunity in our country is quite limited in the workforce. While this may have something to do with the fact that there are ceilings to employment and promotions for minorities, the major cause for concern should be in the lack of equal opportunity in the public school system. If every child is given an equal education when they are young it would do wonders for creating equality in the workforce.

One way that the journalism community can help to solve their diversity problems is to look at the success of other top companies. There are some companies that are doing wonderful things to help battle the diversity issues in the workplace. One of those companies is The Coca-Cola Company. Coca-Cola has an entire page on its website dedicated to diversity in the workplace and what they are doing to support it. They understand that a diverse group of people bring in diverse talents and ideas.

The Society of Professional Journalists provides a set of ethical codes that journalists should follow to provide accurate and fair news coverage. But the SPJ does not provide a clear cut standard for diversity in the news room. So in order for journalists to know what to do to help the diversity issue they must turn to other places.

One final place that journalists could turn to for help on diversity issues is the University of California, San Francisco. They provide some very useful tips for managing diversity in the workplace. Given the growing diversity in our country it is a must for journalists to adapt and manage the issue of diversity in the workplace.
Check out one of the most diverse workplaces around and maybe even crack a smile.

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