Sunday, September 29, 2013

Diversity and a Changing Newsroom

Victoria Knueven

One phrase used to describe the United States, or New York City in particular, is the melting pot. For hundreds of years the United States has played host to the backgrounds and ethnicities that have moved to this country from around the world. Since our country is so famous for being open to people from all over the world, there is a surprise in store when people turn on the news. People are most likely to see white men hosting the nightly news. They do not see a reflection of society. In fact, in the newsroom itself, Latinos, African Americans and women are underrepresented. So why do companies not work harder to get reporters or stories that give the people what they want -- stories that minorities can understand because they hit close to home?


Money: The #1 Issue
One of the first things that falls in hard times are the people with specializations, who focus on just one topic because they are experts in that area. Most newspapers and TV stations are downsizing, not hiring new people who can focus on just one type of story or ethnicity. While it is understandable that companies do not want to lose money, they cannot make money unless they have enough journalists that can have a diversity of voices in their stories. 

Also unpaid internships do not give students the chance to get their foot in the door if they are broke. College students are famous for being broke because of the high cost of tuition, and yet they are expected to work for no money in order to have a career. This article focuses on the trouble that most students face. Most students cannot afford to work for an entire semester or summer without any payment even if having an internship is a requirement for graduation. Also, if they do not get an internship during college, they cannot find a job once they graduate without experience. This causes most students in minorities to fail once they get out in the real world and also contributes to the lack of diversity in newsrooms.

The Changing Medium
There is more diversity in the United States. Even though minorities are being laid off in the newsroom, there are also more magazines and newspapers that cater directly to these specific languages or cultures. In Cincinnati there is a radio station that also publishes a magazine, called La Jornada Latinaand a newspaper that all directly cater to the Latino community. The company, TSJ Media, has experienced growth in the past year and is expanding to more cities because the Hispanic community is growing in the Midwest. 

This is a prime example of managers influencing the content that is put out into the world. If a manager stresses that diversity is important, then writers are more likely to have more voices in their articles. Just like college students who focus on diversity because their professor makes it a requirement, professional journalists will listen to the pressure from their managers and focus on minorities in the community. The change for diversity has to come from the top of command. The more a boss demands for diversity, the more likely it is for a variety of people to get hired.

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