RTDNA/Hofstra survey finds slight increase in minority TV news directors

The percentage of minority TV news directors increased last year, but overall the percentage of minorities in TV news fell for the third straight year, according to the latest RTDNA/Hofstra University Annual Survey.

The decline has wiped out previous advances, meaning there has been no gain whatsoever for minorities in TV news this decade, said Bob Papper, professor of journalism at Hofstra University and the survey director.

According to the survey, much of the drop in minority TV news employment came from a decline at Hispanic TV stations. At non-Hispanic stations, the decline in minority employment was only .3 percent to 19.3 percent. Last year, the figure stood at 19.6 percent.

The survey sheds light on the break down by race in Hispanic and non-Hispanic TV station newsrooms.

At Hispanic TV stations, the racial breakdown of the news workforce in 2010 is

  • Hispanic 73.9 percent
  • Caucasian 20 percent
  • Asian American 3.5 percent
  • African American 2.6 percent

At non-Hispanic TV stations, the minority breakdown in 2010 is

  • African American 10.3 percent
  • Hispanic 5.7 percent
  • Asian American 2.8 percent
  • Native American .5 percent

Overall, the TV broadcast news workforce by race in 2010 is

  • Caucasian 79.8 percent
  • African American 11.5 percent
  • Hispanic 5.8 percent
  • Asian American 2.3 percent
  • Native American .5 percent

In 2009, the percentage of women in TV news and women TV news directors declined, the survey showed. The drop in women TV news directors was small, and the percentage of women TV news directors stands at the second-highest level ever.

“Women have been right around the 40 percentage mark of the TV workforce for more than a decade,” Papper said. “Last year, the number edged up to 41.4 percent, but this year it's back down to 40 percent. That could indicate that women in TV news lost their jobs at a higher rate than men, but it could also just be an anomaly in the numbers.”

The survey reveals that while minorities are projected to account for 35.3 percent of the U.S. population this year, they make up 20.2 percent of the TV workforce. That compares with 34.4 percent of the U.S. population and 21.8 percent of the TV workforce in 2009.

The small increase in the percentage of minority TV news directors this year largely results from an increase in the percentage of Asian American and Hispanic news directors. The percentage of African American news directors declined a modest .2 percent, while the percentage of Caucasian news directors dropped nearly 2 percent. Native American news directors held steady at .7 percent of the total.

Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.