A SEAT AT THE TABLEHow do minorities feel about their place in the news media in the time of a great contraction.

Editor’s office: How do minorities feel about their place in the news media in the time of a great contraction.

Explore with me the changing environment for minorities in media.

Great strides had been made in the growth of minority representation in traditional newsrooms before the Great Recession reversed those gains across all races. The environment that remains has seen considerable change from the days when the industry self-imposed measures to increase diversity.Read what the media watchers at Poynter have to say about staffing in newspaper newsrooms.

New day dawning

While the economy undergoes a revival of sorts, media are not only recovering from the devastating financial setbacks, they are riding the tempest of the digital age. It’s a new world. Half of all adults in the United States have a mobile connection using their smartphones or tablets, according to  a survey from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Economist Group. The study shows nearly a third of mobile news consumers are adding new sources of news. What do these changes hold for minorities. Read more from the 2012 study here.

Looking for answers (and more questions)

How has this new landscape affected minorities in changing newsrooms? The rank-and-file minorities were approaching staffing levels that mirrored a more diverse society. Minority leaders were finding themselves more and more often sitting at the proverbial table. What are their perceptions of this roller coaster?

For my answers, I will review literature that looks at the statistics of media staff and its impact on the newsroom. I will also seek perceptions and experiences from a group of minorities in United States and United Kingdom media outlets including both management leaders and rank-and-file employees. Right now, I am seeking to interview the following in the U.S.:

  • Debra Adams Simmons – editor, the Cleveland Plain Dealer
  • Betty Lin-Fisher  – columnist and consumer reporter, Akron Beacon Journal
  • Andale Gross  – editor, the Associated Press
  • Erika D. Smith – metro columnist, Indianapolis Star
  • Ralph Paulk  – sports reporter, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

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