Huge racial disparities in political journalism

93 percent of front-page election articles have been written by white journalists

By Natasha Lennard

Published October 25, 2012 7:13PM (EDT)

Statistics highlighted Thursday by election media analysts 4th Estate show a vast lack of racial diversity in political reporting. The infographic series "Bleached: lack of diversity on the front page" showed that "93 percent of front page print articles, covering the 2012 Presidential Election, were written by white reporters."

Based on data collected from U.S. national print outlets, 4th Estate reported:

The percentage of [front page election] articles written by Asian American reporters is 3.3%, by African American reporters is 2.9%, and by Hispanic reporters is 0.7%. This under-representation of minorities reporting on the front page holds true across most media outlets for most ethnic groups. The Dallas Morning News stands out as an exception where 18.8% of their front page stories were written by African Americans. The most striking under-representation of minorities in our data is that of Hispanic journalists, considering the Hispanic population stands at approximately 16.3% of the U.S. population (according to the 2010 Census).

Other striking statistics came from 4th Estate's analysis of issue specific coverage. For example, only 0.2 percent of stories in national, English-language outlets about immigration were written by Hispanic reporters. (It's worth noting that the statistics do not include Spanish-language publications, where immigration issue are consistently given more coverage and reported on by Hispanic writers.)

The Dallas Morning News was found to have the most diversity on its front page, with 21.2 percent of features written by non-white journalists.

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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2012 Elections Journalism Newspapers Politics Racism