With broadband dominating the media conversation these
days, the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council (MMTC) wants the
government to give up employment data for top Silicon Valley companies
including Google, Yahoo! and Apple.
In a letter to Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis dated Sept.
17, MMTC asked the department to reverse its denial of a FOIA request
by the San Jose Mercury News for access to information on the employment
composition of the above three, plus Oracle
and Applied Materials.
Those companies argued that race and gender information
was a trade secret, according to reporter Mike Swift, and that it would
casue "commercial harm" for Labor to release it. Labor denied the FOIA
The data for companies for which Swift did get info
showed taht while staffing had gone up, the percentage of African
Americans and women employees and managers had decreased.
"Gaining access to the race and gender employment data of
technology and information service companies is crucial at a time when
the United States is struggling to use broadband to rebuild and
revitalize our communities," said MMTC, "and must draw upon the skills and creativity of all members of our diverse society in order to do so."
MMTC does not want the new media to be allowed to repeat the patterns of the old, it suggested.
"Unfortunately, if we look to the status of traditional media as a guide to determine our progress in employment diversity, the results are disheartening," the
group wrote Solis. "Minorities comprise 35 percent of the population, 10
yet own only 7.24 percent of commercial radio stations and minorities
and women respectively own only 3.15 and
5.87 percent of commercial full-owner television stations." MMTC added,
"In light of this background, understanding the employment composition
of new media companies and information service companies is crucial."