NPR newsroom is less diverse than U.S. population, more than other media


Edward Schumacher-Matos concludes that NPR's newsroom staff and audience is fairly diverse, although he argues that breaking down listeners just by race is "irrelevant" because "NPR appeals overwhelmingly to college-educated Americans."

When you look at college-educated listeners, he writes, racial "groups aren't so far apart in how they index. Among all income levels, more than 11 percent of whites with a college degree listen to NPR. This compares to 9 percent of Asians with a college degree, nearly 7 percent of Hispanics and 6 percent of blacks."

When it comes to staff, he writes that NPR "does significantly better than the industry averages in radio, television and newspapers." He acknowledges that the 23 percent minority makeup of its newsroom is lower than the 28 percent of the U.S. population. But, he adds:

"By virtue of the fact that 23 percent of the newsroom is made up racial and ethnic minorities and that the overwhelming number of these have college degrees, you can safely say that minorities are far more represented among college graduates in the NPR newsroom than they are among college graduates in American society overall.

But how does this translate into coverage, if at all? Schumacher-Matos "found that it is impossible to classify stories as black, Latino or Asian" but adds he is "trying to follow how NPR is doing in covering the white working and middle class. My sense is that the national news media, of which NPR is part, has done a poor job in recent decades of covering this segment of Americans." || Related: ‘Old Girls’ Club’ credited for women’s success at NPR | NPR Faces More Criticism Over Diversity (Huffington Post) | NPR chief exec to NABJ: I agree that we need to increase the diversity of our staff | Ombudsman Says NPR Reporters Need to Look Harder for Female Sources

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


Related News

Email IconGroup 3Facebook IconLinkedIn IconsearchGroupTwitter IconGroup 2YouTube Icon