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Newsrooms still lack diversity

Stacy M. Brown | 3/11/2019, 12:15 a.m.
With observances planned throughout March to commemorate Women’s History Month, a new report revealed that women are still mostly absent ...
The 2018 Empowering Women in Media, a networking and panel event that feturing women of color in media as they share stories with other women who are looking to break into the world of media. Kizzy Cox of En la Escena

(NNPA) – With observances planned throughout March to commemorate Women’s History Month, a new report revealed that women are still mostly absent from newsrooms.

The Women’s Media Center’s 2019 report on the status of women in U.S. media shows that despite some gains, men still dominate in every part of news, entertainment and digital media.

“The media is in a state of great disruption, but despite all of the change, one thing remains the same: The role of women is significantly smaller than that of men in every part of news, entertainment and digital media,” Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Center, said in a news release.

Burton said the data in the report paints a stark picture.

“It is clear that a cultural, systemic shift is necessary if all parts of the U.S media are to achieve gender and racial parity and move toward a world where stories fully represent the voices and perspectives of diverse women,” she said. “Research spotlighted in this report shows that diversity boosts corporate profits. When boardrooms, newsrooms, studios and tech companies fully reflect the faces, genders and myriad talents of our society, we’re all exceedingly better served.”

The report titled The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2019 is comprised of 94 studies, including original research by WMC and aggregated research from academia, industry and professional groups, labor unions, media watchdogs, newsrooms and other sources.

It includes several original WMC studies, including Divided 2019: The Media Gender Gap, an assessment of where women stand as media writers, reporters, correspondents and anchors in the major news media platforms, including the prime-time broadcast news programs, print publications, wire services and online news sites.

The report noted that across all media platforms, men receive 63 percent of bylines and credits, and women receive only 37 percent.

“Women have been fighting for greater parity and equality in the news media for decades,” said one of WMC’s co-chairs, Maya Harris. “This report shows that more work needs to be done to level the playing field. Women and our male allies will not rest until we see wholesale change.”

Further, Pat Mitchell, also a WMC co-chair, said, “When we watch the evening news, we’re not seeing an America that truly reflects all voices. Too often, the voices we hear and the images we see are men’s. Men largely are reporting and telling the story even though women represent more than half the U.S. population.”

The report is inclusive and also features WMC’s The Status of Women of Color in the U.S. News Media 2019, which offers a rare look at where women journalists of color are – and aren’t – in legacy print, radio, TV and digital news.

That report revealed that women of color represent just 7.95 percent of U.S. print newsroom staff, 12.6 percent of local TV news staff, and 6.2 percent of local radio staff.

“Missing women of color in the newsrooms of this country is an injustice in itself, and an injustice to every American reader and viewer who is deprived of great stories and a full range of facts,” said WMC co-founder Gloria Steinem. “Inclusiveness in the newsroom means inclusiveness in the news. Racism and sexism put blinders on everyone.”