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Big Name Media Ignore Diversity Survey, Again

OAKLAND, CA - The American Society of News Editors completed its second attempt at measuring diversity at online news organizations, the society reported on Wednesday — but some of the biggest and most well-known websites still did not participate.

Missing were AOL, New York; MinnPost.com, Minneapolis; Salon.com, San Francisco; Talking Points Memo (TPM Media LLC), New York; the Daily Beast, New York; the Huffington Post, Los Angeles; and Yahoo, Sunnyvale, Calif.

Yahoo is the most-visited news site on the Web, and its head of local news efforts, Anthony Moor, sits on the ASNE board. AOL says it employs 4,000 journalists, though not all full time.

As ASNE explained "ASNE released a survey of online-only news sites in April, along with its annual survey of traditional newsrooms, but subsequently dismissed those findings as an inadequate effort because only 28 sites were identified and just seven responded." Some said they never received the form.

"This second effort at surveying online-only newsrooms used more precise qualifying standards and was aided by others in the online industry who identified more sites to include.

"Questionnaires were sent to 58 sites, and 27, or 47 percent, responded. . . . This small sample means the results of the survey may not be indicative of online-only news organizations as a group. The universe of online-only newsrooms is still taking shape."

Nevertheless, "About one of every five full-time journalists employed by the 27 sites that responded voluntarily to the ASNE questionnaire was a journalist of color, compared to about one of every seven in the annual ASNE census of newsrooms that publish a daily newspaper. Two of every five staffers at the online-only sites were women, compared to about one of every three in the newspaper newsrooms," ASNE said in a news release.

Among those that did participate were the Center for Investigative Reporting/California Watch, Berkeley, Calif.; Factcheck.org/Annenberg Public Policy Center, Washington; GlobalPost, Boston; ProPublica, New York; the Center for Public Integrity, Washington; theRoot.com, Washington; SeattlePI.com; the St. Louis Beacon; the Tucson (Ariz.) Citizen; and the Voice of San Diego.

"The survey found that online-only sites can range from news websites established to cover defined neighborhoods and run by one or two individuals who earn no money, to well-known commercial enterprises. The survey also suggests that an increasing number of people appear to be volunteering to tell their neighbors what is going on in their immediate community," ASNE said.


The Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education | 663 Thirteenth St., Suite 200, Oakland, CA 94612 | (510) 891-9202



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