Women, minorities make big impact on TV news

A lot has happened in television news over the past twenty years, not all of it for the good.  But at least one development can be applauded – the network newscasts are featuring more women and minorities as anchors and reporters than ever before.

According to the Miller-McCune website, a new study published in Electronic News compared the faces of reporters and anchors on the ABC, CBS and NBC network newscasts in 1987 and 2007.

The differences were startling. In 1987, men reported 73 percent of stories; in 2007, men reported 48 percent of stories and women 40 percent. (The remaining 12 percent were team efforts featuring reporters of each gender.)

Members of minority groups, both male and female, also made strides. In 1987, only 5 percent of stories were reported by minorities; that figure increased to 32 percent in 2007. “White correspondents still dominate network news staffs,” the researchers report, “but in certain prominent roles, minority groups appear in significantly higher numbers.”

Taking a look at the industry as a whole, the 2009 RTDNA/Hofstra University Annual Survey found that  the minority TV workforce stood at 21.8% — women made up over 41% of employees.  Still, women and minorities are underrepresented when compared to the U.S. population, where minorities made up an estimated 34.4% of Americans in 2009 and women approximately 50.7%.