Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Racial Changes to Influence Media Decisions

Hannah May

It is projected that in the United States by 2017 more than 50 percent of children under the age of 18 will be a minority. By 2043, the Caucasian race as a whole will become the newest minority group in the United States. Shocking? Or is it…

It is blatantly apparent that the United States is becoming a more diverse country. There are an influx of positives and negatives to this rapid change in racial diversity that is quickly consuming our country. One of the main questions regarding the racial change can be heard from the newsroom: When does race become the main topic of news?

Because racial diversity is becoming such an important issue to address, radio and television stations are beginning to face trouble when deciding to report on racial issues or the routine drama. The power can be completely held in the hands of the media when it comes to expressing a general consent from the community on feelings toward racial topics. In order to handle these controversial topics, the diversity must first come from the newsroom itself.

Many television stations are hiring more African-Americas, Latinos, Asians, women and gay individuals to fill both on-air and decision-making position.

In order for minority topics to be covered by the media, it is important that the newsroom itself consist of multiple races. A more diverse newsroom means less racially biased stories published.  It also helps establish, from different point of views, a sense of what information could even have the potential to initially attract minority groups. Once racial diversity in the newsroom is established, TV stations are going one step further to solve racial issues.

TV Series about racial issues are being created.

Is creating a TV series solely reporting on race insufficiently overstating the issue? Instead of looking at the series as amplifying the issues behind reporting on race, it is said to be a way prove to the community that broadcasters are attempting to inform viewers on race issues in hopes to improve the relationships all around. KRON-TV in San Francisco won a Peabody Award as well as a RTNDA/Unity Award for their About Race television series. This series focused on examining genetic differences between Blacks and Whites and the history on the division between the Chinese, the Japanese and Americans.

In opposition to KRON-TV’s racial series, some journalists do not think that race relations make for a newsworthy story at all. These reporters are sucked into the “pop psychology” or “social activism” scene and find issues regarding those topics to be much more newsworthy.

Are Miley Cyrus’s erratic lifestyle choices more newsworthy than race issues?

This question could present a chuckle in some newsrooms. The sad truth of the media is that some broadcasters would side with Miley’s so-called scandalous life. These broadcasters could instead be choosing highly relevant stories regarding racial issues that could be seen in their own backyard. They believe that Miley will attract more viewers, so that is what they produce.

At the end of the day, when deciding which story to publish, it comes down to this:

We are not accurately serving our viewers unless different racial and cultural groups are covered.

With the projected statistics of Caucasians becoming the minority in America by 2043, it is certainly evident that the target market can no longer be specified to only Caucasians. The change in racial diversity brings change in consumer markets. If the media does not integrate and change their programming to interest different racial groups, then they will end up hurting in the end.

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