Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Mass Communication

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

Over the past forty years, the news industry has attempted to diversify the racial composition of their newsrooms from the perspective of representing their markets better mirroring best business practices in the industry. The statistics show that an affirmative style of recruitment has produced minimal, superficial results with a high turnover of minority journalists who are hardly promoted to editorial positions, as well as skewed representations of minority racial groups. The literature indicates that hegemonic ideological forces and the White male professional ethos behind journalism is not conducive to minority journalists producing meaningful changes to news content. My study indicates that newsrooms need to place more emphasis on implementing processes that promote an inclusive work environment as opposed to just diversifying the workforce. I develop a theoretical paradigm for news inclusion drawing on a mixed methods study, which loosely draws on a Charmaz’s Grounded Theory approach, incorporating in-depth interviews and a content analysis. My dissertation focuses on the experiences seven news workers across four television news stations in a top 50 news market with a majority-minority makeup. I undertake a content analysis of 406 television news stories during the late January to late February sweep period. I develop a continuum to understand the variation of exclusionary and inclusionary experiences that exist between minority and non-minority newsroom workers. I use the term “ideological maneuvering” to describe how minority and non-minority journalists navigate the newsroom to achieve certain outcomes such as promotion and job satisfaction. I also look at how these experiences affects their newsgathering and source selection regarding race. My study recognises that the ideological inertia of the newsroom counteracts any steps towards integration. I suggest that certain types of mechanisms need to be implemented to mitigate the harmful effects of routine and norms, and opaque leadership in order to promote an inclusionary newsroom.

Committee Chair

Grimm, Josh

Available for download on Thursday, July 11, 2024

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