In search of media diversity

(Hispanic Link)— By JOSEPH TORRES, Wednesday, June 06, 2007
“We wish to plead our own cause. Too long have others spoken for us. …From the press and the pulpit we have suffered much by being incorrectly represented.”
So wrote John Russwurm and Samuel Cornish 180 years ago in the inaugural issue of Freedom’s Journal, the first African-American newspaper founded in New York City. It is sad that their quote is as relevant today as it was in 1827.
Two centuries later, even though people of color make up a third of the U.S. population, the media are still struggling to integrate diverse voices in news coverage and staffing. Media companies are quick to pledge their support for newsroom diversity, but their actions still fail to match their rhetoric.
The same can be said for the Federal Communications Commission’s commitment to fostering greater racial, ethnic and gender diversity on our airwaves. It has failed to take any action on this growing crisis.
And it is a crisis. The national non-profit media reform organization Free Press released a study June 5 that found people of color own just 7.7 percent of the nearly 11,000 radio stations in the United States. African Americans own just 3.4 percent, Latinos 2.9 percent and Asian Americans 0.9 percent of all stations. Women own only 6 percent.
Read more here.


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