Evaluating print and broadcast news in the San Francisco Bay Area from A to F.


How Ethnically Diverse Are Journalists at Bay Area Newspapers?

In the Bay Area, the journalists at the Mercury News most closely resemble the communities they serve in terms of race and ethnicity, according to a study released by The American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) in April.

But even at the Mercury, the proportion of editors, reporters, columnists and photographers who identify as members of racial or ethnic minority groups--33.2%--fell well short of parity. The Mercury’s circulation area is 52% minority.

(The nine-county Bay Area is extraordinarily diverse—fully half identified themselves on the 2000 Census as either Latino or non-white.)

ASNE ranked 935 newspapers across the nation which responded to its 26th annual employment census. For each paper it created a “diversity index” by comparing the percentage of minority journalists to the percentage of minority residents of each paper’s circulation area. The result is a percent of parity, with the goal being 100 percent.

The Mercury’s index, 64% of parity, led the region by far.

Among Bay Area dailies, the Marin Independent Journal ranked second, at 52% of parity. The Contra Costa Times and associated newspapers took third, with 41% of parity between newsroom and community served.

The area’s largest paper, the San Francisco Chronicle, reached 35% of parity in 2002 when the survey was conducted. Even so, it beat the Los Angeles Times, which reached 33% of parity.

The Oakland Tribune reached only 26% of parity. Other MediaNews papers also lagged—the Freemont Argus at 21%, Tri-Valley Herald at 11% and Hayward Daily Review at just 9% of parity. Only the Santa Cruz Sentinel had a lower score, at 8% of parity.

The Press Democrat in Santa Rosa did not respond to the ASNE survey.

The members of the ASNE had set a goal of parity with the communities theyserved by 2000. However, by 2002 minority representation in American daily papers had reached only 12.5% while 31% of Americans now identify as members of minority groups—Hispanics, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Native Americans or some other race or combination

American journalists working at daily newspapers are now projected by the ASNE as 5.33% African American, 4.04% Hispanic, 2.62% Asian-American and 0.53% Native American. Women, of all ethnicities, comprise 37.05% of this workforce.


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A project of the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at San Jose State University, Grade the News is affiliated with the Graduate Program in Journalism at Stanford University and KTEH, public television in Silicon Valley.

Monitoring the Bay Area's most popular news media:

Contra Costa Times

Knight Ridder

San Francisco Chronicle


San Jose Mercury News

Knight Ridder

KTVU, Oakland (FOX)

KTVU, Oakland (FOX)

KRON, San Francisco

KRON, San Francisco

KPIX, San Francisco (CBS)

KPIX, San Francisco (CBS)

KGO, San Francisco (ABC)

KGO, San Francisco (ABC)

KNTV, San Jose (NBC)

KNTV, San Jose (NBC)


Bay Area media advocates:

Media Alliance
Center for the Integration and Improvement of Journalism at SFSU
Maynard Institute
Youth Media Council
Project Censored
New California Media
Society of Professional Journalists, Northern California chapter
National Writers Union Bay Area chapter

Site highlights


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• Part 2: Free daily papers: more local but often superficial
• Part 3: Free papers' growth threatens traditional news
• See also: SF Examiner and Independent agree to end payola restaurant reviews
• And: The free tabloid that wasn't: East Bay's aborted Daily Flash


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Humbler profits won't encourage buyouts, by John Morton; Alexander responds
Newspapers can't maintain monopoly profits because they've lost their monopolies, by Philip Meyer
Knight Ridder in grave jeopardy, by Lou Alexander...


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The paradox of news: There's more news available and its cheaper than ever before, but fewer young people are interested. 5/12/05


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