ASNE partners with RJI for next newsroom census

The American Society of News Editors, which recently cut its staff in half, has found a partner to take on its annual, labor-intensive census of who works in the nation’s newsrooms. That new partner will be an affiliate of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute, based at the University of Missouri, the two announced today. The census tracks newsroom diversity as well as overall employment trends. About 65 percent of U.S. newsrooms participate, including some online-only newsrooms.

News release:

American Society of News Editors partners with RJI’s research affiliate for Newsroom Employment Census
COLUMBIA, Mo. — The next survey measuring diversity within U.S. newsrooms, a major initiative of the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) for 33 years, will be conducted by the Center for Advanced Social Research (CASR), an affiliate of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism.

The Newsroom Employment Census is a tool ASNE uses to measure the success of its goal of having the percentage of minorities working in newsrooms nationwide equal to the percentage of minorities in the nation’s population by 2025. Since the inception of the Census in 1978, ASNE has conducted the survey in-house; next year, that responsibility will shift to CASR, with ASNE overseeing the project and reporting the results.

“It has long been a primary mission of ASNE to promote diversity in the nation’s newsrooms,” said Ken Paulson, president of ASNE and executive director of the Freedom Forum’s First Amendment Center in Nashville, Tenn. “Tapping the resources of one of the nation’s premiere journalism research programs will ensure that the census remains a vital tool to measure the industry’s progress.”

For many years, the Census counted employment only in daily newspaper newsrooms. In 2010, ASNE began to expand the survey’s scope to include online-only news organizations.

“CASR is best known for survey tools with complex sampling methods, quality data collection and meaningful statistical analysis. We are pleased to apply those skills to this important work,” said Esther Thorson, RJI’s director of research.

Data collection for the Newsroom Employment Census will start in late 2011 and will be completed in time to announce the results at the ASNE Annual Convention in Washington, D.C., April 2-4, 2012.

ASNE is also currently evaluating proposals from a number of journalism schools interested in forming an operational partnership with the association. The results of that evaluation process will be announced later in the year.

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