Women, minorities take charge in TV news

A new study finds that more women than ever are running local TV newsrooms. According to the annual Hofstra/RTNDA survey, women now hold well over one quarter of the news director jobs.

At 40.2 percent, there was no significant change in the percentage of women in the television news workforce in 2007, but the number of women news directors reached an all-time high of 28.3 percent. Furthermore, women are as likely to be found as news directors in the largest markets as in the smallest, something that has not been the case in the past.

Minorities also made gains in 2007. The percentage of minority television news directors also reached an all-time high of 15.5 percent, up from 10.9 percent the year before. And almost a quarter (23.6 percent) of local television news staffs are minorities, up from 21.5 percent in 2006, and the second highest percentage since the peak in 2001. The number of Asian Americans, Native Americans and Hispanic journalists all increased, while the number of African Americans remained steady, the report says.

The bad news? Little or no progress in radio newsrooms, where minority employment edged up only slightly and the percentage of women in the work force and in leadership declined. The survey was released one day before the largest convention for journalists of color, UNITY, opens in Chicago.