Mass Media has truly evolved into an incredible voice and community, opening its doors to minorities, who’s dreamt of entering this exclusive industry as much as their white peers have.
From Rev. Peter Williams, Jr, who founded the first African-American newspaper in 1827 to Connie Chung, a long time Asian American Journalist, who has worked with Walter Cronkite on the Watergate scandal in the 70’s to Francisco Cortes, who is the first Latino to hold a Vice President position in news media at Fox News Channel and whom I had the pleasure of meeting two years ago and to Hoda Kotb, an Egyptian-American television host, correspondent and New York Times Bestselling Author. Media has changed tremendously, but it still needs to do more.
I applaud the networks and publications, who make it their civic duty to employ more immigrants and minorities, but these few are just that, a few. More networks need to open their doors because every year there’s a new wave of hopefuls looking to make their mark in the field. Based on Graduate Surveys from Grady College, “Between 2004 and 2013, minorities accounted for approximately 21.4 percent of Journalism or Communications graduates, [but get this] only 49 percent of minority graduates that specialized in print or broadcasting found a full-time job, compared to 66 percent of white graduates.” According to a report by Alex T. Williams, a doctoral student at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, 13.34 percent of minorities are employed at a daily newspaper, 13 percent in radio and 22.4 percent in television. So if 37.4 percent of the population is comprised of minorities, why isn’t it necessary to employ more minority Journalists? News is constant and forever changing, the same goes for our communities, hence the reason we should be seeing and hearing from more minority reporters.
Like politics, mass media attract individuals with an agenda whether it’s to expose a corrupt government or to shed light on a community issue that has since been rectified and/or still needs attention. Journalism isn’t for the faint of heart though because there will be times when your character and motive will be questioned and attacked, nevertheless, it is a highly rewarding profession and absolutely necessary. It’s needed for spreading awareness and being able to communicate with people, who have a story to tell. More diversity is needed within the media industry, especially in urban areas. In minority communities where crime rates are soaring as a result of poverty and a lack of education, more minority Journalists would make a difference. Most people living in these communities would rather speak with someone more relatable and this is one of the many reasons why networks should exhibit more diligence into hiring a diverse staff. Given the current state of race relations in the country, especially amongst minorities and Police Officers; the distrust these communities have for law enforcement and the government is staggering, so by recruiting more minority Journalists to report on these issues will better assist in gathering unbiased and accurate accounts.
I think ABC, FOX, CW11 and NBC are doing their fair share with employing minorities, but I think CBS has done an even better job by hiring a brilliant plus-size African American Meteorologist, Elise Finch. It’s important to keep a diverse newscast and agency because it tells every little girl from all races and backgrounds that she too, can grow up and become a Journalist, and that there is a place for her within the industry. Keeping it homogeneous and unattainable for other races only perpetuates hate, greed and inequality in a society where there are enough hate and resentment to go around. Be more inclusive, open more doors for minority Journalists and banish the hierarchy in which you operate your news networks. From my Broadcast Journalism peers, only one of us made it as a television reporter and off course, he’s white. It’s an accurate assumption that mass media was really designed for white middle to upper-class individuals. Let’s change that!