For decades, the news business has been talking about diversifying its newsrooms. While some gains have been tallied, the overall picture of mainstream newsrooms remains predominantly white and male.
In its annual census the American Society of News Editors reported that newsroom diversity in 2015 remained stable at 12.76 percent. Specialty news outlets like ProPublica are also taking steps to be more transparent about their diversity efforts, but their newsroom remains 74 percent white and 62 percent male. A 2015 diversity study of the New York Times revealed that just 32 percent of the Gray Lady’s reporters are women.
As a news organization committed to training and employing women journalists, you might think our diversity report is pretty cut and dry.
But it isn’t.
GPI was founded on the core belief that changing the storyteller changes the story. And the more we prioritize a diverse reporter population the more we are able to accurately and authentically cover some of the world’s least-covered regions. But that means we must define diversity by more than just race and gender.
The majority of foreign correspondence continues to center on just four topics — war, poverty, disaster and disease. All important topics, certainly. But they are also the topics obvious to outsiders. GPI excels at covering complex news environments like post-conflict Uganda or ethnic and religious hotbeds like Sri Lanka, because our reporters are local women who come from a variety of ethnic, religious, educational and socioeconomic backgrounds.
So this year, in our 2015 annual report, I decided to take what have long been internal measurements and to put them out into the world so that you, our readers, can better understand just who our reporters are and how their diversity contributes to the exceptional news stories they tell. Consider, for example, diversity’s role in important things like source access and accuracy of quotations when source and reporter speak the same language.
In measuring such diverse diversity metrics GPI reveals why newsrooms care so much about diversity anyway — these statistics tell us what we often forget, that reporters are just people. People who are tasked with collecting the narratives and verifying the facts that allow each one of us to understand the world and our place in it.
At GPI, we are committed to training and employing a representative reporter population to give you the most authentic view of the world.
Here are the highlights from our 2015 diversity report.