TELEVISION NEWSROOM DIVERSITY AND CIVIC ENGAGEMENT

BY HAILEY LEE AND MARY ELIZABETH KENEFAKE

CMS.360 INTRO TO CIVIC MEDIA DECEMBER 19, 2011 MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY CENTER FOR CIVIC MEDIA

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Television Newsroom Diversity and Civic Engagement Abstract In the United States, employment demographics for television news do not accurately reflect the nation’s ethnic makeup. According to the Radio and Television Digital News Association’s 2011 report on women and minorities in the news, “In the last 21years, the minority population in the U.S. has risen 9.5 percent; but the minority workforce in TV news is up 2.7 percent.” 1 Minorities make up only 20.5 percent of TV newsrooms, but represent about 33 percent of the population of the United States.2 The goals of this paper are to 1) identify the issues correlated with the lack of minority representation in TV newsrooms, 2) demonstrate the feasibility of a positive correlation between TV newsroom diversity and civic engagement through a ‘best-fit’ model, 3) advocate for a partnership between ethnic media organizations and traditional TV news channels to best cater to the minority audiences’ interests and needs.

National Statistics RTDNA study further reveals that from 1990 to 2011 the minority population in the U.S. rose 9.5 percent while the minority workforce in TV newsrooms rose a mere 2.7 percent. Minorities in U.S. constitute 33 percent of the population whereas only 20.5 percent are minorities in TV newsrooms.3 The RTDNA statistics present dismal situations for TV Papper, Robert. RTDNA / Hofstra Survey Finds Mixed News for Women & Minorities in TV, Radio News. Tech. 2011. Web. 8 Dec. 2011. <http://www.rtdna.org/media/RTDNA_Hofstra_v8.pdf>.
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U.S. Census Bureau. QuickFacts: USA, State and Country. 2010. Raw data. Washington, D.C.
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Papper, RTDNA, 2011.
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newsrooms. The goal of any TV news station should be to accurately report issues and concerns important to its surrounding community and represent the community’s ethnic diversity. Without representative ethnic makeup in TV newsrooms, which include on camera, producing, and management positions, the stories produced and reported will not achieve this goal of accurate community representation. In addition, a lack of TV newsroom diversity can stunt civic participation. This threat becomes ever more urgent as the US becomes a ‘majority minority’ nation within the next few decades, according to the August 2008 report by the U.S. Census Bureau. The report projects that groups currently categorized as racial minorities—African Americans and Hispanics, East Asians and South Asians—will account for a majority of the U.S. population by the year 2042.4 These projections are also echoed in studies from the Brookings Institute where demographer, William H. Frey, states that by the 2028 presidential election, minorities will constitute a majority of adults between the ages of 18 and 29. 5 Below is the amalgam of 2010 US census data on current racial demographics:

Hsu, Hua. "The End of White America?" The Atlantic Jan.-Feb. 2009. Web. <http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2009/01/the-end-of-white-america/7208/>.
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Frey, William H. The New Metro Minority Map: Regional Shifts in Hispanics, Asians, and Blacks from Census 2010. Metropolitan Policy Program. The Brookings Institute, 31 Aug. 2011. Web.
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While some argue that any journalist with professional journalistic training can report effectively, regardless of their race, Sasha Costanza-Chock from the MIT Center for Civic Media and Ernest Wilson from the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Journalism discuss the importance and impact of a face that is similar to the viewers. Stories told by those who have lived them carry an unmatched power to enlighten and inform. While there is no iron-clad rule that only Black writers write well about Black experiences, nor that minority ownership automatically translates into particular kinds of representation, it remains the case that scholarly research reveals strong correlations between media ownership, hiring practices, and content. 7 Indeed, the lack of proportional representation depicted in RTDNA data can be compared to and qualified by the results of the Media Matters Diversity Report, which compare the representation

U.S. Census Bureau. QuickFacts: USA, State and Country. 2010. Raw data. Washington, D.C.
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Costanza-Chock, Sasha, and Ernest J. Wilson III. New Voices on the Net? The Digital Journalism Divide and the Costs of Network Exclusion. (5)
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of ethnic groups, divided by sex, to their actual proportions in the U.S. population. These graphs indicate that white men are disproportionately represented: 8

"Gender and Ethnic Diversity in Prime-Time Cable News." Media Matters for America. 2007. Web. 18 Dec. 2011. <http://mediamatters.org/reports/diversity_report/>.
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Civic Engagement and Television When discussing civic engagement and participation, we use Thomas Ehrlich’s definition from the study Civic Responsibility and Higher Education. Civic engagement means working to make a difference in the civic life of our communities and developing the combination of knowledge, skills, values and motivation to make that difference. It means promoting the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes.(2000)9 Heightened political and non-political actions and awareness are the projected outcomes of a more diverse TV newsroom in this study. However, the connection between television watching and civic engagement is still contested by academics. Harvard Kennedy School of Government professor, Robert Putnam, argues in his book Bowling Alone that there is a negative relationship between watching television and civic activity. He says “Electronic entertainment, especially television, has profoundly privatized leisure time. The time we spend watching television is a direct drain upon involvement in groups and social capital building activities. It may contribute up to 40 per cent of the decline in involvement in groups.” 10 However, not all television is created equal. An increase in civic engagement, such as community involvement or voting, can come from watching newscasts that accurately reflect a person’s demographic background. Viewing news and public affairs programs can encourage audience interest and activity in civic matters. This was found by Pippa Norris in her 1996 study, Does Television Erode Social Capital? A reply to Putnam. In it, Norris states that “watching Ehrlich, Thomas. Civic Responsibility and Higher Education. Phoenix, Ariz: Oryx, 2000. Print.
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Putnam, Robert D. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Touchstone, 2001. Print.
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news programs correlate positively with civic engagement which is not surprising given that people who are interested in civic affairs are likely to watch the news and participate in civic activities” (Norris 1996).11 What has not been clear until now is whether the positive correlation of watching news programs and civic activity holds for ethnic communities, and whether a combination of more diverse mainstream TV newsrooms and ethnic-catered media would help encourage it. Television News in America According to a 2004 Pew Research Center study on news habits of audiences, television news is still regularly watched by 59 percent of Americans, although this is a significant decrease from the “more than three-quarters of Americans who regularly watched local news in the early 1990s.”12 The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have also qualified this statement through their own statistics: television viewership is not declining, and remains an effective way to reach people. In addition, money is continuing to be invested in this field, bolstering it from economic instability. People are watching as much TV as ever. The average amount of time Americans spent consuming major media rose from 10.6 hours in 2008 to 11 hours in 2010, with the portion of time devoted to TV remaining fixed at 40 percent.With viewing habits more fragmented, broadcast TV has retained some clout as an effective way to reach large numbers—not to the extent that it has in the past but still more than most cable networks. As a result, significant ad spending on broadcast TV will continue. (FCC Report, 2011, The Information Needs of Communities)13 Norris, Pippa. 1996. Does television erode social capital? A reply to Putnam. PS: Political Science and Politics 29 (3): 474-79.
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Pew Research Center. "Where Americans Go for News." Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. 8 June 2004. Web. 18 Dec. 2011. <http://www.peoplepress.org/2004/06/08/i-where-americans-go-for-news/>.
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Working Group on Information Needs of Communities. The Information Needs of Communities. Rep. Federal Communications Commission, June 2011. Web. 8 Dec. 2011. <http://www.fcc.gov/document/information-needs-communities>.
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Neilson Media Research identifies African Americans to be the largest minority segment of the U.S. television household population, comprising approximately 12.87 percent of the 108.4 million TV households. These conclusions are reflected in The State of the Media findings: within the minority population in the US, the segment of the minority population who most rely on TV news is African-Americans (86 percent), significantly higher than TV news usage of Whites and Hispanics.14 These percentages confirm minorities’ dependence on TV news and their presence as a highly prevalent audience for TV news.

However, the high percentage of minorities who are dependent on TV news is devalued by statistics on minorities’ increasing use of the Internet, rather than the television, to consume news. In 2002, 26 percent of whites went online at least three days a week for their news versus 15 percent of African Americans. Then in 2004, the percentage difference decreased to only four points, with 29 percent of whites and 25 percent of African Americans using Internet news. Digital image. Web. <http://www.stateofthemedia.org/files/2011/01/A-Higher-Percentage-ofAfrican-Americans-Rely-on-TV-News.png>.
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Hispanics consume even more Internet news than whites or African Americans: nearly a third of Hispanics, about 32 percent, went online at least three days a week for their news. Only two years ago in 2002, only 22 percent of Hispanics had used Internet news.15 These increases in minority consumption of Internet news indicate an issue with TV news reports’ lack of relevancy to minority interests and the heightened urgency for the news industry to reflect diverse audience interests in order to retain their audience. One explanation for the increase in Internet news usage may be because of the lack of diversity in news stories (perpetrated by the lack of diversity in race and voice in the newsroom). This lack of relevancy will prove fatal to news industries as more minorities continue to sever ties with watching TV news and rather, seek other sources for news that are more catered to their interests. The Internet also allows users to have greater influence on what types of stories they choose to learn about. Viewers may watch TV news expecting to hear good news but end up watching reports that make them worry and feel insecure about their communities. So they turn to the Internet to personally cater the reports they see. In addition, TV news nurtures societal prejudices based on the lack of diversity of stories they report regarding minorities. Television news in particular has been cited for reporting stories that depict African Americans as lawbreakers. A study of TV crime newscasts indicated that newscast content displayed far more counts of African-Americans crimes than that of any other racial classification16. Thus, the decline in minority viewership of TV news may also be a reaction to the representational distortion of minorities in TV news reports. What people see on Pew Research Center. "Where Americans Go for News." Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.
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Sparks, Glenn (2006). Media Effects Research A Basic Overview. Boston, MA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
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television is an important source of information about public perceptions of society. When viewed habitually, this public imaging through television is powerful enough to reinforce opinions about minorities, which are typically unfavorable, bringing to light negative stereotypes. The debate of diversity in the TV newsroom affecting content diversity also contributes to the idea that in order for minorities to be accurately-represented in news stories, there needs to be more minority participation and presence in the TV newsroom. Whatever capacity television has for increasing civic engagement will be underwhelming when dealing with the minority audience due to the lack of diversity in the newscast or news’ portrayal of the populations they serve.

Diversity of programs in national TV news To counter this biased manner of minority portrayal, diversity of television programs is needed. According to RBR.com (or the Radio Business Report which also includes the TV Business Report) the lead author of the FCC Information Needs of Communities study, Steve Waldman, spoke to the graduate school of Journalism at Columbia University in 2011. There, he noted “the need for access and more diversity in voices, particularly at the local and state level where news and information can be limited.”17 On the national level, mainstream TV news networks such as CNN, MSNBC, FOX, CBS, ABC, and NBC have openly placed value on diversity, but few have delivered concrete numbers to prove they reflect a diverse nation. Of course, there are certain minority “stars” on network TV but they are a scattered few: Soledad O’Brien, Anne Curry, Lester Holt, Don Lemon, among a few others. Rbr.com. "Community Media Group Seeks More from FCC." Voice of the Broadcasting Industry. Radio Business Report and TV Business Report, 9 June 2011. Web. 8 Dec. 2011. <rbr.com>.
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However, the majority of national network news personalities are white males. When a news consumer goes to the CNN main anchors homepage, they are greeted with exactly that: Piers Morgan, Anderson Cooper, Wolf Blitzer, and John King as the featured journalists of CNN.

According to the study, Gender and Ethnic Diversity in Prime-Time Cable News by Media Matters, in 2008, 84 percent of prime-time guests on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox were white. The study compared the three networks, with CNN and MSNBC being the “least white” with 83 percent of guests being Caucasian. Promising data came for African Americans, who were represented on average, between the three, at about 12 percent, fairly proportional to the African American population in the U.S. However, Latinos did not have representative TV appearances: the study reveals that “Latinos make up 15 percent of the American population, but less than 3 percent of the guests on cable news, and only 1 percent of MSNBC's guests, were Latino.” 18 "Gender and Ethnic Diversity in Prime-Time Cable News." Media Matters for America. 2007
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Christine Lee, of WWLP-22 News in Springfield, MA told us in an interview that growing up, she did not feel it was attainable for an Asian-American to break into national news because of statistics like the Media Matters study.

(Image from Media Matters for America, 2007)

On CNN, there have been recent features by Soledad O’Brien such as the highly successful “Latino in America” and “Black in America” specials. However, the key word is “specials” as these types of programming are not regularly featured. More stories like O’Brien’s need to be told and represented nationally, and regularly. Frank Herron, Director of the Center on Media and Society at the University of Massachusetts Boston, directs the journalistic work of the New England Ethnic Newswire. He also called upon TV news stations to update programming.

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I’m not speaking in terms of on-air anchors and on-air reporters, I think a little deeper, and it should go into story content and another area that should be easier to “fix” than the hiring stuff is sources and experts on air. Who’s coming and sitting at the table and giving their opinion. Maybe there are available minorities who are qualified to do on-air stuff…There’s a vast pool of expertise; sources news organizations should, and many probably do, bend over backwards to try and bring into the mix the churn of news reporting so that what people read in print or see on air does reflect the community you’re trying to cover, and the demographics are absolutely heading in a certain direction. In response to these changing demographics, it seems as if networks are slowly beginning to recognize the potential profitability of minority focused TV programs. William Murrell, manager of AboutBlackBoston.com, says that high profile African American celebrities are beginning to shop for TV networks of their own, in order to capitalize on this demand and create content that meets needs.

Moves are being made in other cities to purchase networks. Russell Simmons is shopping for a TV Network now. And of course we know that Oprah has built her OWN network. And what’s interesting about that is that its’ been failing; however they’ve been starting to prop it up around targeting African Americans for a change. Oprah’s standard market base is not core African American, it’s a wider segment. But it’s the African American base that’s keeping her going. It’s adding 17,000 viewers to her prime-time shows, and that’s what’s going to save her network at this point, and that’s kind of interesting. For example, African-American targeted channel, TV One, has been very successful within the past two financial years. The channel is expanding its political talk-show programming. According to American Media: Evolving in the New Era, Washington Week with Roland Martin “attracts guests from Washington’s political scene, including the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Austan Goolsbee, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and columnists, reporters and political analysts.” The report also details that TV One has had a 135 percent profit increase from 2009, making $22.6 million in 2010.19

Diversity of programs in local TV: Boston Project for Excellence in Journalism. African American Media: Evolving in the New Era. Rep. Pew Research Center, 2011. Web. <http://stateofthemedia.org/2011/african-american/>.
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While overall, the diversity of TV news programs is lacking both nationally and locally, news programs in smaller communities and cities tend to be more catered toward the audience they serve. Based on the literature review and interviews we conducted to explore the diversity of programs in local TV news, we discovered that local TV newsrooms tended to be more diverse. This is because local news is catered to smaller communities in which minority populations may be more concentrated. Boston will be used as a case study to analyze the effects of diverse news programs. Boston is a unique case, because it has become a “minority majority” city. Because of this large minority population, it would seem logical that the television newsrooms would reflect that, better than most other cities. Although news networks have tried to develop such programs, it is far from enough to accurately represent the ‘minority majority’ population of Boston. City of Boston 2009 Demographics from the United States Census Bureau’s 2005-2009 American Community Survey Race Total pop. White Black/ Af. American American Indian and Alaska Native Asian Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander Other race Hispanic or Latino (any race) Estimat e 625,304 369,743 159,329 5,197 52,260 458 56,708 98,299 Margin of Error +/-48 +/-2,781 +/-2,284 +/-646 +/-871 +/-199 +/-3,004 +/-1,493 Percen t 625,30 4 59.1% 25.5% 0.8% 8.4% 0.1% 9.1% 15.7% Margin of Error (X) +/-0.4 +/-0.4 +/-0.1 +/-0.1 +/-0.1 +/-0.5 Not included

Boston will be used as a case study within the context of the interviews we conducted and information provided by Boston TV outlets about their minority-focused programming. Murrell
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described how mainstream networks in Boston began to increase minority-focused program 30 years ago, but how 30 years later, they still do not meet the mark. When it was determined, 30 years ago, that there was not much minority representation in the news, but the population watching the news was growing, the networks had to do something about it. They created these social advocacy shows, but they boxed them in. They’d come on on a Sunday. There was one called “Urban Update” and the other is called “City Line” one on channel four and channel nine. There’s another one that’s been on much longer than those on PBS called “Basic Black.” They’re half hour shows, and that’s it! You’ll see each one once a week for about half hour apiece. That’s it for major network black media shows about black content; with exception to the specials...I think there needs to be more. But I am informed by knowledgeable sources that the reason there’s no more – it’s not the market, it’s the management... it is not a minority led management. Within Boston, there are three types of television stations: Mainstream corporate- owned, community and local, and public. The FCC provides documentation for TV stations in Boston and the Boston suburb area that offer news programming: Boston Television Stations Licensed by the FCC Category Public Corporate Corporate Corporate Corporate Corporate Corporate Corporate Station Call WGBH WCVB WFXT WBZ WHDN WTMU WHDH WCEA City Boston Boston Boston Boston Boston Boston Boston Boston Affiliation PBS Hearst Media Fox CBS Deutsche Welle Telemundo NBC Cuenvavision Licensee WGBH Educational Foundation WCVB Hearst Fox Television Stations INC. CBS Television Licenses LLC Guenter Marksteiner ZGS Boston, INC. WHDH-TV C&M Broadcasting
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Corporation Corporate Community Community Community NECN WLVI Cambridge Community TV Boston Neighborhood Network Boston Latino TV Press Pass TV Black Boston TV Newton Cambridge Cambridge Boston NBC Universal CW N/A N/A Comcast WHDH-TV Not-for-profit Boston Community Access and Programming Foundation, Inc. (BCAPF) N/A N/A William Murrell

Community Community Community

Boston Boston, Worcester Boston

N/A N/A N/A

According to a 2009 report by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, WGBH TV and WBUR radio produce three minority-focused programs. They include WBUR’s five part miniseries on immigration and undocumented workers in Eastern Massachusetts, WGBH’s Morning Stories, which is made of “features that celebrate the diversity of voices in its region,” and WGBH’s Basic Black, which has focused on African American topics since 1968. Murrell thinks the problem for minorities in media in Boston does not necessarily lie only with representation, but with content. I do think the picture in Boston is not as bleak as it may appear to be. There’s no real hard-core minority ownership happening though as far as television broadcast goes because it’s expensive to own a network that’s considered a major market network... Because if a minority group, investment group could purchase a Boston Globe or Channel 7 or something like that, then you’d see more shows that are oriented towards the community than the ones you see now. They do a very good job with the content with the limited time they have with the shows we see now, but you’d see more of it...So we do want to see our own in charge, running a variety of stuff, not just short stories about shootings and murders, and sports.
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While Murrell thinks that Boston television stations have not adequately addressed the needs of ethnic communities, Lee told us how Springfield, MA has adjusted. Springfield is a heavily Hispanic community, and for that reason, her news director makes a concerted effort to hire talented minority journalists and even feature special news segments on issues that pertain to the minority audience interest, such as immigration policy. She said communities like Springfield are beginning to seek out diverse reporters in order to reflect their communities and bolster their viewership. I was surprised at how much some TV stations actually are looking for people of diverse backgrounds. So while I was skeptical at first… I tried to look for stations that maybe didn’t have an Asian, or if they already had an Asian, they’re kind of like ‘oh, that’s the limit!’ and I probably couldn’t make it into that station, because they probably didn’t want another Asian. So I would look elsewhere. But then I found that that’s not necessarily true. In some stations they really pursue a diverse newscast because they want their newscast to reflect the community, and in the community there are different people. Lee added that she thinks Boston’s market does a better than average job of representing its minority populations. In Massachusetts there are Asians, there are African Americans. So I think in Boston, this market particularly reflects that. We did have Frances Rivera, and at one time at her station there were three Asians. There was her, there was Susan Tran, and Janet Wu. And on NECN, their main anchor, she’s African American, Latoyia Edwards, as well as at CVB they have Janet Wu. After a while I felt that perhaps, especially being an Asian female, it seemed like there were opportunities for us.

TV News Programs that Increase Civic Engagement What is now important is to identify programs that are appealing to minorities that would heighten civic engagement. The Alliance for Community Media acknowledged the importance of continued FCC funding for educational television productions that create civic engagement, as funding for those programs has been in jeopardy.

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If people of color do not participate actively or in numbers roughly proportional to their geographic community’s demographics (both as individuals, and as sometime brokers or representatives of their communities of racial and ethnic origin), then they, their communities, the quality of public discourse, and the broader public will all suffer. 20 Minority communities have consistently been identified as the population with the least civic participation in the US. This includes variable voter turnouts and non-political participation in community events and activities

Ethnic media as an alternative Many sources point to the rise in the number of ethnic media sources in the U.S. and worldwide. Currently the National Directory of Ethnic Media, which is compiled and updated every year by New America Media (a collaboration of ethnic media founded in 1996 by nonprofit Pacific News Service), contains information on over 2,200 ethnic media organizations in the United States. The 2006 Ford Foundation Report indicates that in New York, for example, the circulation of Chinese language dailies has grown from about 170,000 in 1990 to more than half a million today. One in three New Yorkers are Hispanic and four Spanish-language dailies serve this population. In other major cities in the United States, the European Union, and Australia, the growth of ethnic media is equally significant. Matthew Matsaganis, Assistant Professor in the Department of Communications at SUNY Albany, is currently researching ethnic media’s link to community participation and engagement in a project entitled “Building Civic Engagement in Diverse Ethnic Communities.” In an abstract of the study, he detailed “indigenous communication networks.” “We found that the degree to which residents in a variety of multi-ethnic communities are integrated into the indigenous communication network (consisting of neighbors and their families, community organizations, and local media) predicts higher levels of
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Costanza-Chock and Wilson III. Page 4
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neighborhood belonging, collective efficacy, and political participation – all three conceived as important dimensions of civic engagement.”21 As shown by Mastaganis’ research, effective local media leads to an increase in civic engagement. Local, ethnic focused media are beginning to become alternative sources of information for minority communities. Murrell stated that he views mainstream media as lacking, so ethnic media outlets are taking the place of traditional TV news. “I don’t think the minority population is hurting that much from not having adequate representations on national networks because there are other alternatives to communicate and to receive news than those networks…People aren’t stopping how much information they receive. They’re just doing it through different channels.” Herron discussed ways ethnic media creates awareness of civic issues within the community by becoming trusted sources of relevant material. The Census Bureau had a great phrase, and I took it to heart, maybe I’m naive. But they had a great phrase for the ethnic media outlets, and they called them “Trusted Community Voices” and I think that that’s an important element. Part of it may be an element of seeing someone who looks like you, but it’s also ‘these are people who know my community.’ So there's a level of trust that, try as they might, larger outlets that are serving a region...how broad is that...It’s kind of hard to have that focus. And these outlets do have a future if they maintain that trust. He said that ethnic media distributes information about voting, the census bureau, the treasury and taxation, and awareness of immigrants' rights and representation within the United States. He also emphasized language as an important feature of ethnic news, stating that while most immigrants have a comfortable level of English, they enjoy consuming news in their first language. A study by Obeholzer-Gee and Waldfogel in 2006 investigated whether the presence of local television news influenced the local civic participation of a Spanish-language audience. Matsaganis, Matthew. "Building Civic Engagement in Diverse Ethnic Communities."Department of Communications- University at Albany - SUNY. SUNY Albany.
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They found that voter turnout was higher in areas with access to Spanish-language local TV news, and that Spanish-language TV news programs boosted Hispanic voter turnout by 5 to 10 percent. On the other hand, the study revealed, those without access to local television news were significantly less likely to vote in US elections.22 However, Herron made it clear that language was not all that was needed. The topics had to be relevant to the viewer. He says, “it takes more than just translating. It really has to reach people. You can’t just take a story about the Globe and translate it into Spanish...That’s where it gets expensive. It takes a real commitment to hire people.” Ethnic news that operates in a foreign language serves its own purpose and caters towards a unique subset of the population. However, using ethnic media stories as a starting point, mainstream local news can broaden their viewership and appeal to a wider market. This appeal to a broader market will be necessary to the survival of local newscasts. To reach this goal, the stories produced must be relevant and representative of communities. Herron argues that ethnic media organizations succeed for this very reason: distributing stories relevant to specific communities. However, since the 2008 recession, ethnic media groups have been struggling. Herron thinks the future of ethnic media will be difficult, as it will be for all news companies, but there is a future in money from advertising. Campaign advertisements are the life blood of a lot of...television broadcasts, and I think it’s starting a little slowly this cycle...and we’ll see how that affects the ability to suck some money away and the ability to hire some people...It’s more than just the economic problem, I tell you some of these big TV stations and newspapers have more of an inclination to generate profits, and there’s less of an inclination to do some adventuresome hiring and to do the type of hiring that’s needed to have these outlets really cover their communities well. Oveholzer-Gee, F. and Waldfogel, J. (2006). Media Markets and Localism: Does Local News en Espanol Boost Hispanic Voter Turnout? (Working Paper 12317) Cambridge, MA ̈ National Bureau of Economic Research. Retrieved August 26, 2006, from http://www.nber.org/papers/w12317.
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Best-Fit Model To properly understand the correlation between TV newsroom diversity and civic engagement, we developed a 'best fit' model that streamlines the process necessary to achieve heightened civic engagement. In order to remain competitive in the struggling US economy, the TV news industry must be proactive in recognizing the needs of its customers. And now, with an ever-diversified citizenry, it is even more crucial to maintain accurate representation of US population demographics.

[next page] Model to Promote TV Newsroom Diversity and Civic Engagement23

Lee, Hailey, and Mary Kenefake. Model to Promote Newsroom Diversity and Civic Engagement. Publication. Cambridge, MA, 2011.
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In order for the news industry (both mainstream and ethnic TV) to make informed advertising and programming decisions, the first step is to identify minority audience TV viewing patterns and preferences. The Neilson Media Research is one source that investigates the diverse viewing habits of African Americans and Hispanic Americans, two of the largest TV viewing minority audiences. The Nielsen Hispanic-American Television Index is also the first and only national service that monitors the viewing habits of the Hispanic audience.24 Hispanic-American Television Audience. Nielsen Media. 2011. Web. <http://www.nielsenmedia.com/ethnicmeasure/hispanic-american/indexHisp.html>.
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After audience demographics and interests are assessed, fair hiring and firing practices must be implemented to ensure a net against the ‘last hired, first fired’ phenomenon that has occurred since the 2008 recession. While minorities continue to be disproportionally underrepresented in TV newsrooms, advancement towards diversity has been grounded in the civil rights movement of the 1960s. This progress halted in lieu of the economic crisis, during which news companies needed to lay workers off. Since minorities had been integrated into the TV newsroom for the shortest amount of time, it was logical for firms to fire them first. Costanza-Chock and Wilson discuss this phenomenon, stating, “Yet, the continued momentum of institutionally entrenched racism, crashing against the current realities of economic recession, creates serious tensions inside today’s media institutions.” (3) 25 They also discuss the naivety shared in the news industry post 2008, when the first black president was elected. They say, there is not a post-racial United States, but race and inequalities still dictate life for many Americans. On the one hand, some imagined that Obama‟s election ushered in a new, post-racial polity; at the same time, the massive failure of the financial markets and their regulators signaled a new willingness to discuss the possibility that markets, left to their own devices, do not necessarily produce optimal outcomes. In this context, it has become possible to ask again, as a matter of public policy, how people of color might be disproportionally impacted by the lack of oversight in areas like housing, health, and even Internet access. In the academy and beyond, the broader question of global equality and inequality has once again returned full force. (20)26 As featured in the model, ethnic media must increase their presence and seek more advertisement revenue in order to maximize their reach and effectiveness. Herron states that without this advertising revenue, it will be difficult for ethnic media groups to succeed. The future--pretty hard. I think advertisers are overlooking, but I don’t want to sound like a promotional thing here, but advertisers are overlooking an opportunity here for
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Costanza-Chock and Wilson III. Page 3 Costanza-Chock and Wilson III. Page 20
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communicating with different communities, and some advertisers have really tapped into this. Because these communities are growing, populations are growing. Once diversity in mainstream TV newsrooms is achieved, and ethnic media has maximized their reach and profitability, the two facets can collaborate to generate a diverse range of stories. It is important to note that ‘diverse’ means a broader range of stories regarding minorities and regarding minority interests, beyond the hackneyed crime reports that stereotype minorities as lawbreakers. For instance, other story ideas include health care, problems of illiteracy and solutions/efforts to alleviate poverty, as things minorities would be more interested in learning about. When a greater diversity of stories (that are better catered to minority interests) has been developed, the minority audience will be far more inclined to not only continue watching TV news but also to act upon it through civic participation. Further Studies In order to make the model of heightened civic engagement a reality, we identified what must be addressed through further research and better practices in the TV newsroom. Originally, the focus of this paper was to gather and analyze the diversity data of the city of Boston and its immediate suburbs. The original title of this project was Minority Representation in the Boston Television News Industry. However, the RTDNA or the FCC did not make the local data available. We found a lack of data about TV newsroom diversity at the local level. Although the initial goal of this paper was to research diversity of local Boston TV newsrooms, failure to obtain any information after contacting both the FCC and the RTDNA for city data forced us to expand our paper to the national scope. The only diversity information we found on Boston TV news networks was regarding the diversity of TV programs that they
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featured. It would also be most effective if such data sets, once available, could be better publicized and organized into graphics for better visualization. This information needs to be available so that communities can become active in judging whether or not their local news is meeting their needs and reflecting their diversity. In an effort to obtain opinions from Bostonians about their local media, we attempted man-on-the-street interviews in downtown Boston to investigate communities’ experience watching TV news. We found that this was the most difficult aspect of our project. Thus, a study needs to be developed that would identify people's raw opinions about news diversity and the type of news they are receiving, at both a national and local level. We recruited participants onsite, solely through verbal invitations, intentionally seeking out the elderly (higher probability of watching TV news) and racial and ethnic minorities. Participation was strictly on a volunteer basis, with no compensation, and participants were told they could withhold answers from any questions that made them uncomfortable. The prospect of an on-camera interview caused many interviewees to shy away from responding to questions.

Conclusion This lack of willingness to respond suggests that perhaps local American media is not doing its job of serving communities by creating relevant content. Diverse newscasts, at the local and national level, will create more diverse stories and thus, do a better job of creating relevant content to re-engage its viewers. In order to better serve communities, Costanza-Chock and Wilson urge for a “transformation” of America’s media system. To realize the promises and reap the benefits of a deepened democracy hinted at in Obama‟s election, we badly need to transform our media system to better reflect the diversity of our society and polity. We need an “information revolution” that is not merely technical and commercial, but that also brings more and more people greater
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opportunities to create their own stories and gain access to the information they need to lead fuller, more meaningful and productive lives as citizens of multiple communities.27 The core of US democracy lies in the active participation and representation of citizens. To preserve this process of American democracy, the media must take its part in encouraging living with civic engagement. However, many see mainstream media as lacking in relevant information to the minority community. Murrell does not see a future for inclusion of African American media into the mainstream. He says the information has become irrelevant to the minority community; there have been marked efforts to create alternatives rather than to try into the mainstream: What do you see when you turn on the news? You see a traffic report. You see a wreck; you see a Sodom and Gomorrah report about another murder in some urban district. These are not issues that black people; African Americans care about that much. They care about other things that drive them to African American oriented websites and African American oriented channels. The upcoming years will be a turning point for the television news industry. The decisions it makes about fair hiring, firing, and inclusion of diverse stories will either put mainstream TV news on a path of inclusion of minorities in their audience, or foster a separate minority media community. We believe mainstream media should do its best to encompass all members of a community, rather than isolate them. To accomplish this, is will be crucial to create a partnership between ethnic media organizations and mainstream television news.

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Costanza-Chock and Wilson III. Page 33.

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