ASNE survey shows nonprofits more racially diverse than newsrooms overall

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An American Society of News Editors survey of U.S. newsrooms released Tuesday found that the nonprofit outlets included in the study were slightly more racially diverse than the overall pool of respondents.

Among the 17 nonprofit newsrooms included in the survey, minorities made up an average of 20 percent of staffers. Minorities accounted for 16.6 percent of staffers among all 661 news organizations included in the survey.

Five of the 17 newsrooms reported having entirely white staffs. The organizations tend to have relatively small staffs, so one hire can dramatically change their composition.

Next year’s ASNE survey may find more participation among nonprofit news outlets. More than 100 nonprofit newsrooms are eligible to participate in a year-end fundraising match this year organized by journalism funders. To take part, they are required to participate in the ASNE survey, which has previously drawn low participation from nonprofit newsrooms. Participation this year dropped from 23 last year.

“We cannot make strides on diversity and inclusion inside newsrooms without being able to measure it,” said Jennifer Preston, VP for journalism at the Knight Foundation, in a statement. “Although the survey signals improvement, it shows that more ambitious efforts need to be made to improve diversity, help rebuild trust, and ensure that the news and information needs of underserved communities are being met.”

ASNE released the annual survey during its News Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C.