Decision to withhold the data prompted a backlash
In a policy reversal, The American Society of News Editors has released diversity figures for individual U.S. newsrooms.
New ASNE President Mizell Stewart III said the organization decided that “the need for transparency outweighed a good-faith effort to improve response rates on the annual survey.” Stewart is vice president for news operations at Gannett and the USA Today Network. In a statement he said:
“The ASNE survey is seen in the industry as an important tool to measure newsroom diversity. Its value is diminished without highlighting progress, or recognizing the lack thereof, at the individual newsroom level.”
On Sept. 9, ASNE released its annual Newsroom Employment Diversity Survey but did not release percentages of minority staffing for individual newsrooms. ASNE hoped more news organizations would participate in the overall diversity survey if their individual hiring numbers were not disclosed. Some media organizations have admitted being embarrassed by their inability to hire more women and minorities.
The decision not to disclose specific diversity figures caused an uproar in media circles, prompting the reversal. Still, Stewart said in a statement that “fewer than 20” news organizations requested that their figures not be released. He said their request is being honored.
The association is releasing the figures for 733 other news organizations. The list is available on the ASNE website.