A US TV network unveiled its team for the next election and people aren’t impressed

US newsroom white people only
Peadar O'Cearnaigh

CBS News has announced new reporters and associate producers for its 2020 presidential election team. But there wasn’t a single Black person among the team of 12. And as this appears to be a trend in the US media, people weren’t impressed.

CBS announcement

CBS News claims:

We are embracing political reporting now more than ever.

 

And according to its political director Caitlin Conant, the number of applicants was high. She said:

we were thrilled to see unprecedented interest in joining the political unit this cycle

 

This had people wondering why none of the successful applicants were Black people.

Pointing out the obvious

So the response on social media was perfect. People were absolutely shocked:

Journalist Soledad O’Brien also noted the exclusion of a large part of the US population. She tweeted:

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, shocked that this is still happening in the USA, posted:

Another said that despite the high number of Black graduate journalists, they aren’t getting into US newsrooms:

Under-representation of Black people in US media

Sadly it’s not solely CBS News. The number of Black people in the US media is low and most jobs go to white people. And it seems it’s been like this for some time.

As there was “unprecedented interest in joining” the CBS team, this should mean jobs for Black journalists too. But it didn’t.

Not only Black people

The representation of women of colour in the US media is also poor. A 2018 study from the Women’s Media Centre (WMC) found that despite women being in the majority and people of colour making up almost 40% of the population, the “U.S. media does not look like, sound like, or reflect” this diversity.

The American Society of News Editors (ASNE) found consistently low numbers of ethnic minorities in newsrooms between 2000 and 2018. People commented on this on social media too.

Change is long overdue

While understandable, responses like “unacceptable in 2019” don’t tell the whole story. Excluding Black people, or anybody based on ethnicity, was and is always wrong. So it seems clear the mainstream doesn’t want to change.

Featured image via John H Boyd / Wikimedia

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