The diversity in the newsroom project is currently in the research stage of the project. In one of the earlier meetings I had with my faculty mentor, Dr. Kate Fink, we acknowledged that it is important to see what data is already out there on our subject. Diversity in the newsroom is not a new idea, but not much has been done about it yet. We decided to search for any policies regarding diversity that college newsrooms may already have.
Dr. Fink requested a PDF file of the Editor & Publisher 97th annual newspaper databook: the encyclopedia of the newspaper industry. We plan to base our survey off of the information found in this document. From this, we will create a sample survey and test it at a select few colleges and universities. Those results will give us feedback that we will need to tweak the survey before we send out the finalized version.
Those people working in news organizations should reflect the community they are reporting on and to. The best way to do so is to make sure that the diversity in the newsroom mimics that of the surrounding community. Through the research conducted throughout the 2019-2020 academic year, Professor Fink and I will be looking to answer certain questions including the following:
- How well do college newsrooms around the nation represent their campuses?
- Is the college newsroom staff balanced in the way of gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation?
- Do college/universities have a policy in place for diversity?
These are just a few questions that will be explored throughout the year. We plan on creating surveys and sending them out to select colleges throughout the nation. Currently, we are discussing a way to narrow down our research. Instead of reaching out to every college and university in the country, we want to narrow our focus to get more accurate results.
First and foremost, this research will help us understand how well college newsrooms represent their community. The demographics of the newsroom may give us insight to what they are reporting on and what topics they might be missing. Our findings will also show us how college newsrooms relate and compare to newsrooms in corporate America.