The Federal Communications Commission has considered four aspects of diversity: 1) Viewpoint diversity ensures that the public has access to a wide range of diverse and antagonistic opinions and interpretations provided by opportunities for varied groups, entities and individuals to participate in the different phases of the broadcast industry; 2) Outlet diversity is the control of media outlets by a variety of independent owners; 3) Source diversity ensures that the public has access to information and programming from multiple content providers; and 4) Program diversity refers to a variety of programming formats and content.

RTDNA Research: Women and minorities in newsrooms

The latest RTDNA/Hofstra University Annual Survey finds the minority workforce in TV news rose to 24.4%. That’s up more than a full point from a year ago… and is the second highest level ever in TV news.

The minority workforce at non-Hispanic TV stations rose to the highest level ever. The minority workforce in radio is up 2.3… but still well below the level in 2014. Women numbers were mixed in both TV and in radio. Still, as far as minorities are concerned, the bigger picture remains unchanged. In the last 27 years, the minority population in the U.S. has risen 12.1 points; but the minority workforce in TV news is up just over half that at 6.6. And the minority workforce in radio is less than 1 point higher.

Why I’m devoting a year to helping black newspapers survive

[Commentary] In 2016, Pew's "State of the Media" report noted a circulation decline at “a handful of historically prominent black papers.” But that decline is not uniform. “Because so few of these papers have regularly audited circulation figures…it is difficult to acquire industry-wide measures,” according to the report. (The Richmond Free Press has been audited annually since 1993.)

As black communities risk being overlooked by many newsrooms, so do black newspapers risk being overlooked or undervalued by advertisers. During the next year, I’ll study family, legacy and the viability of black newspapers in America as a Knight-Wallace fellow. When I first returned to the Richmond Free Press, I felt consumed by questions: How might we keep the paper relevant, and financially sound? Those questions evade easy answers, but they’ll power my research, and they sustain my conviction that no community deserves to be left behind.

[Regina H. Boone is a staff photojournalist for the Richmond Free Press, published in her hometown of Richmond, Virginia.]

CPB Awards Grant to Drive Diversity in News Coverage, Audiences and Staff

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting has awarded a grant to KWMU-St. Louis Public Radio to collaborate with three other public media stations to drive diversity in news coverage, audiences and staff. St. Louis Public Radio will work with KCUR-Kansas City, WNPR-Hartford and Oregon Public Broadcasting on the 27-month project that includes resources for training for newsrooms and news management, documenting the project’s process and reporting on best practices to the rest of the public media system. A St. Louis-based editor will guide the reporters based at each of the four stations in producing in-depth multimedia stories. Reporters will also contribute to their station’s daily broadcasts, produce news spots, and engage with diverse communities through events, social media, listening posts and/or podcasts. The collaboration will produce joint reporting projects for broadcast and digital distribution, and pitched for national distribution.

Who Speaks for Whom on Net Neutrality?

[Commentary] In a year in which, as black people, we face devastating issues on every hand, at what cost should we fight [the changes to the Federal Communications Commission's network neutrality rules]? One of the groups that strongly opposes the rules change is Color of Change. Normally, I would agree 100% with Color of Change as they’ve been a reliable source of information and a black press ally in the struggle for many years. But, on this issue—largely due to this season in which other racial issues appear more pressing—I’ve stepped back to take a closer look.
While the median income for an African American household is still $35,000—only 66% of the national average of $53,000—should we be focused on net neutrality as a priority?
As African Americans are rejected for mortgages at more than twice the rate of whites, is that issue worth sacrificing to debate net neutrality rules?
How about the homicide and police misconduct rates in black communities—yet another issue related to economic disparities. Does net neutrality rank over these?

Let me be clear. I am not saying it’s not an important issue to our community. It’s just the method of advocacy by Color of Change on this issue that gave me pause. It seems the organization should provide all the technical and legal information they can to back up their position. I simply disagree in the draping of the issue in racial justice and presuming to speak for all African Americans when some of our communities have literally burned to the ground because of more critical issues that have not been funded.

[Hazel Trice Edney is editor/publisher of the Trice Edney News Wire and CEO of Trice Edney Communications.]

A Newsroom and a Lifeline: Univision’s Urgent Sense of Purpose

By now you’ve probably heard that this is a golden age for journalism — how The New York Times and The Washington Post are warring for scoops in ways reminiscent of the Watergate era; how an information-hungry public is sending subscriptions and television news ratings soaring, reinvigorating journalists and reaffirming their mission (“Democracy Dies in Darkness” and all that).

But the story isn’t complete if it doesn’t include Univision News, one of the most striking examples I’ve seen all year of a news organization that is meeting the moment. It is the leading news source for Hispanics in the United States, citizen and noncitizen alike — a core audience that has an almost existential stake in the Trump administration’s policies. These include moves to starve “sanctuary cities” of federal funds and to end the Obama-era attempt to protect from deportation the undocumented parents of citizen children — which, Univision was first to report, the administration did on June 15.

American Hispanics are still less likely to access the internet

Hispanics are less likely than other demographic groups to access the internet, while whites continue to be more connected than anyone else, according to new data from internet research company eMarketer. In 2017, less than 80 percent of Hispanics in the US will access the internet at least once a month from any device compared with 85 percent of whites, thanks to socio-economic factors, as well as education. In general, the less educated and economically advantaged a person is, the less likely they are to use the internet, according to eMarketer. The disparity has lessened over time but is still prominent as the internet becomes increasingly integral to daily life.

5G, Smart Cities and Communities of Color

This report examines the implications for communities of color of fifth-generation wireless technology (also known as 5G) and Smart City technology. Currently, major mobile network operators, such as AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon, offer the fourth generation of wireless broadband technology (4G). Over the next four years, these companies will start to offer 5G in select cities. 5G will facilitate the growth of Smart City technologies, which are tools that allow cities and counties to manage public services such as transportation and power grids more efficiently.

Infrastructure Is Not Just Roads and Bridges

[Commentary] When politicians talk about infrastructure, people generally think of roads and bridges. But these are just a part of the nation’s infrastructure, and not necessarily the most important part for millions of poor and working-class Americans who have limited access to public transportation, broadband and even clean water.

If we’re going to talk about how infrastructure can get America back to work, President Trump needs to think beyond concrete and steel spans. Only 62 percent of rural Americans have access to high-speed internet. Imagine what that means to a high school student applying to college or a small-business owner trying to connect with customers. Without investment in these critical systems, millions of families are barred from a shot at the American dream — and our economy loses valuable talent from the work force. While the nation’s unemployment rate is low, at 4.3 percent, joblessness remains a challenge for many, especially people of color and those living in isolated neighborhoods. Most infrastructure jobs do not require college degrees and they pay above-average wages, offering a path to economic mobility. What should President Trump do about these issues? Successful models exist. Increasing broadband access would help people throughout the country, especially in rural communities. We’re leaving those communities behind by refusing to adequately invest in the modern-day infrastructure they need.

[Angela Glover Blackwell is the chief executive of PolicyLink, a research and advocacy group focused on racial and economic equity.]

FCC Seeks Nominations for Membership on Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment

The Federal Communications Commission is seeking nominations for membership on, and a Chairperson for, the Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment (the Committee). The FCC intends to establish the Committee for a period of two (2) years, with an expected starting date in the fall of 2017.

The Committee’s mission will be to provide recommendations to the FCC on how to empower disadvantaged communities and accelerate the entry of small businesses, including those owned by women and minorities, into the media, digital news and information, and audio and video programming industries, including as owners, suppliers, and employees. It will also provide recommendations to the Commission on how to ensure that disadvantaged communities are not denied the wide range of opportunities made possible by next-generation networks. This Committee is intended to provide an effective means for stakeholders with interests in these areas to exchange ideas and develop recommendations to the Commission on media ownership and procurement opportunities, empowering communities in order to spur educational, economic, and civic development, and consumer access to digital technologies. The Committee’s work is intended to enhance the Commission’s ability to carry out its statutory responsibility to promote policies favoring diversity of media voices, localism, vigorous economic competition, technological advancement, and promotion of the public interest, convenience, and necessity.

Nominations for membership to the Committee should be submitted to the FCC no later than 11:59 PM EST, Wednesday, June 28, 2017.

Online news outlets employing more women than print, TV: Report

In March, the Women’s Media Center released “The Status of Women in US Media 2017,” its annual report to assess “how a diversity of females fare across all media platforms.” The study found that men outnumber women both in bylines and as sources in stories. Journalism’s gender problem, however, looks a bit different outside male-dominated print and TV news. Online-only news outlets have come much closer to achieving gender balance, and a few journalism fellowships have made strides to better support female journalists. Women fared better in print news, according to the report, but not by much: men produced 62 percent of content.