Scholarship for a Pipeline Challenge: Overcoming the 21st Century Segregated Newsroom
American newsrooms remain largely segregated workplaces producing mostly mono-cultural content. Today about 12% of all print journalists are minorities, about 20% work in television and 11% in radio. This despite goals set twenty-five years ago by professional organizations to reach parity by 2000. The pipeline provides a trickle of minority journalists. In 1989, a group of students, weary of the white lens through which the campus press reported news, sought an alternative. This is their story. Case study draws on communication, sociological, educational and resistant theories including those of Raymond Williams, Pablo Freire and Jesus Martin-Barbero. It also discusses results of a recent representative national survey of 615 reporters, editors and news directors in a research project exploring the intellectual base upon which members of the press rely.
Keywords: Press, Newsroom Culture, Sociology of Knowledge, Minorities, Ethnicity, Censorship by Omission, Intellectual Resource Base, Case Study, Problem Resolution, Interdisciplinary Teaching
Mercedes Lynn de Uriarte
Associate Professor, School of Journalism, University of Texas
Formerly an assistant editor and writer at the Los Angeles Times, Mercedes Lynn de Uriarte now teaches Journalism and Latin American Studies at the University of Texas, Austin. She received her PhD in American Studies from Yale University. While at the Times, she was responsible for expanding coverage of Mexico and Central America, as well as U.S. minority communities. Her work appears in both mass media and academic publications. She recently headed the research team that produced Perpetual Disconnects: Missteps Toward Newsroom Diversity, a study of intellectual diversity from classroom to newsroom. She was a 1991-92 Research Fellow at the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center in New York. She was the first chair for the AEJMC Commission of the Status of Minorities. She has also received fellowships from the Alicia Patterson and Ford foundations, the Social Science Research Council and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She was a 1986 Fulbright to Peru, working both with students and professionals. She is bilingual and bicultural — born in the United States and raised in Mexico.
At the University of Texas, she developed the first course in the nation to teach non-minority journalism students how to cover under-represented communities. She also pioneered a course in Community Journalism which for a decade produced Tejas, a publication for diverse voice — the first such classroom laboratory publication in the nation. Articles in Tejas received the 1996 Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Award for Outstanding Journalism.