Women represent 41.4% of the local news workforce, according to a new study from RTNDA/Hofstra, an all-time high. A full 29.1% of the nation's TV news directors are female, also a record level.
RTNDA/Hofstra looked at both gender and race in local news. Minorities comprised 21.8% of local TV news staff in 2009, down from 23.6% last year. Hispanics in local news fell from 10.3% to 8.8% in the past year, while African Americans decreased by a half percentage point.
The percentage of minority TV news directors dropped slightly in 2009.
The RTNDA had a mixed reaction to the findings. "While the increase in the number of women serving as news director is encouraging, the drop in the percentage of minorities employed in newsrooms is not," said Chairman Stacey Woelfel. "It is my hope the gains made in the last few years to make our newsrooms more diverse were not lost in the recent economic downturn. RTNDA is committed to working with our partners at the minority journalism associations to make sure all owners and managers know the value of putting more journalists of color in their newsrooms."
The survey was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2008 among all 1,648 non-satellite television stations and a random sample of 2,000 radio stations.