Asian American presence in US broadcast newsrooms declining

MUMBAI: The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA), in the US, has expressed disappointment over the news that the percentage of Asian American radio and television journalists has dropped to the lowest level the organisation has seen in this decade.     

The percentage of Asian Americans in television newsrooms, throughout the US, dropped to 2.2 per cent this year. This is the same level as it was at in 1995. The numbers were released by the Radio and Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) and Ball State.

By comparison, 4.1 per cent of the television newsroom workforce in 2001 were Asian Americans. The data covering radio newsrooms painted an equally bleak. Only 0.2 per cent of the radio newsroom workforce are Asian Americans.

AAJA broadcast VP Randell Yip added, "This downward trend will not reverse itself until television and radio news organisations make a sincere effort to recruit, train and offer opportunities to Asian Americans."

"AAJA is committed to providing scholarship, fellowship and training opportunities to our more than 2,100 members. However, none of that will have an impact until media organisations commit themselves to hiring and promoting a diverse workforce that includes Asian Americans," he added.

The survey had more positive results for other minority groups in the US. Hispanics in local TV rose from 6.5 per cent last year to 8.9 per cent, and in radio, they rose from 1.2 per cent last year to 3.9 per cent this year. Blacks in TV rose from 8.4 per cent to 10.3 per cent, and in radio, they rose to from 4.8 per cent to 7.3 per cent, this year.

Newsday courts reporter and National Association of Black Journalists president Herbert Lowe said, "Another year, another survey? It is the same thing. The industry is not sufficiently hiring or retaining or promoting black journalists. Sitting across the tables and bemoaning the same excuses isn't getting us anywhere. The industry must hire, retain and promote. Plain and simple."

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