Study shows lack of non-white top editors

Study shows lack of non-white top editors

Overall, 15% of the 80 top editors across the 100 major online and offline news outlets are non-white, despite the fact that, on average, 42% of the general population across all five countries studied are non-white, Reuters Institute at Oxford University says in a fact sheet covering Germany, UK, Brazil, US and South Africa. If South Africa is excluded only 5% of the top editors are non-white, compared to, on average, 30% of the general population.

There has been no significant overall increase in the number of non-white top editors over the last year across the markets covered, the Institute says.

  • In Brazil, Germany, and the UK, none of the outlets in the Institute´s sample have a non-white top editor. In the US, there are three non-white top editors in the sample (18%) and in South Africa a majority (60%) are non-white.
  • In every single country covered, even South Africa, which far outperforms the other four in terms of the racial diversity of top editors, the percentage of non-white people in the general population is much higher than it is among top editors.
  • In the four countries where data are available on the number of non-white journalists, there is no simple relationship between the percentage of non-white journalists and the percentage of non-white top editors. In Brazil and the UK, there are fewer non-white top editors than there are non-white journalists. In South Africa and the US, there are more non-white top editors than non-white journalists.
  • The share of internet news users who say that they read news from at least one major outlet with a non-white top editor ranges from 0% in Brazil, Germany, and the UK to 86% in South Africa.

”Top editorial positions in major news outlets matter both practically and symbolically. They are important because top editors are key figures in the leadership and direction of newsrooms”, the report concludes.


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