Study: Whites write 93% of front page election stories

The 4th Estate | The Maynard Institute | The Atlantic

White journalists wrote more than 93 percent of front page articles about the 2012 presidential election, according to a study by The 4th Estate. The organization has released the findings, which it tallied between Jan. 1 and Oct. 12 of this year, in a handsome infographic, which unfortunately is incorrect in its specifics:

Click for larger graphic

The 4th Estate's Jonas Eno-Van Fleet told Richard Prince there was sometimes dissonance between the group's data and the American Society of News Editors' annual newsroom census figures: "We found no minority reporters for the San Francisco Chronicle writing front page election stories," Eno-Van Fleet told Prince, "while the overall minority representation of their staff is over 20% according to the ASNE survey."

The Miami Herald has a 27 percent Hispanic staff, but no front page articles about the election by Hispanic reporters, Eno-Van Fleet told Prince.

We called The Miami Herald to inquire about this discrepancy and learned that the paper has Hispanic reporters covering the election, including government and politics reporter Patricia Mazzei. Mazzei had multiple front page stories about the election, according to Herald Managing Editor Rick Hirsch.

We checked back with the 4th Estate, which confirmed that there was a problem with the newspaper breakdowns. While the overall figure is correct -- 93 percent of front page election stories were written by whites -- the figures for individual news organizations were incomplete when they were published, said 4th Estate's Michael Howe by phone. The researchers are currently counting a pool of reporters with front page election stories they missed the first time. So far, they've found that 6 percent of the Herald's front page election stories were written by Hispanic journalists.

Over all, ASNE says, minorities make up 12.32 percent of daily newspapers' staffs.

The Atlantic's David A. Graham notes that "immigration is least likely to be covered by a minority journalist," according to the study.

Update: 4th Estate releases new numbers for individual newspapers

Related: New ASNE figures show percentage of minorities in newspaper newsrooms continues to decline


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