USA Today came out with an article last week extolling its parent Gannet’s newsroom diversity.
Across more than 200 newsrooms nationwide, Gannett has increased Black staffers from 7.7% to 8.2%, Asian from 3.5% to 3.9%s, Hispanic Latino from 7.3% to 7.9%, and is holding steady with Native Americans (0.5%) and native Hawaiian-Pacific Islanders (0.2%). In addition, women now comprise 44.1% of the workforce, up from 43.25%.
But the article acknowledges that, “in terms of leadership in the Gannett content division, gaps are wider. This underscores the continuing need to focus on retaining and recruiting the next generation of diverse newsroom leaders.”
A rival New Jersey new product agrees that Gannett has some progress to make.
The New Jersey Globe alleges that a “non-white resident of North Jersey has a better chance of representing Bergen and Passaic counties in the New Jersey Legislature than getting a job at The (Bergen) Record,” a Gannett title.
The Globe contends that the “Bergen Record newsroom has gone from 84.5% white in 2020 to 84.6% in 2022 and is now 1.1% Black, 3.1% Asian and 6.6% Hispanic. [White] leadership – editors, executives and managers — has climbed from 91.3% two years ago to 95% today."
In addition, the Globe asserts that while “the newspaper did not include gender numbers, despite a claim that they had, a review of The Record’s masthead shows 61.4% of news staff are men. That number increases to 62.8% when two women working as summer interns – one of them is a relative of a top Gannett executive — reduces the total number of employees to 86.”
The USA Today report “came under a potentially deceptive headline: ‘Our commitment to diversity remains strong,’ it adds.
Gannett does not yet claim to have totally diverse newsrooms. But it hopes to “have our newsroom teams match the racial and ethnic makeup of the communities we serve” by 2025, it states.
The company’s statistics do show that newsrooms are 62% white, but that’s down from 69.3% in 2020. In the U.S. area covered, whites make up 56.8% of the population.