Thoughts on Media Diversity

Sometimes looking at an issue at the micro-level provides the same insight as looking at the same issue from a broader perspective. Over the last couple days, I’ve noted more blogs and articles regarding the lack of diversity in media and newsrooms. While I tend to focus on the broader aspects of the Hispanic workforce, it was eye opening to note the lack of diverse voices within an industry that provides our country with its news and information. Why is this important?

The way the media operate, content, the images they produce, and the influence they exert can significantly affect social perspectives. The lack of diverse voices leads to the potential mischaracterization, distortion, or labeling of people of color. Cursory research on my part shows that Hispanics and other minorities were shut out of during the beginnings of newspaper, radio, and later TV media industries. The disparity was so great, it led minorities to create their own media companies, hence the rise of many successful minority-owned media businesses today. Yet, despite the growth of ethnic media giants, disparities in the general media still exist.

According to the American Society of News Editors, for example, the number of full-time minority journalists dropped during 2009-2009 dropped from 6,300 to 5,500, a decrease of 12.6 percent. And while this is only one example, the disparities and significance found within one industry can most likely be applied to many others: banking, technology, engineering, or science. With an ever increasing diverse population, many industries are reaching a crossroads and an unprecedented opportunity – and frankly a responsibility – to become more inclusive and representative of the society they serve.