Dr. Richard Lapchick called his first sports editors report card on racial hiring in 2006 “most discouraging.” His latest report, released March 1, hasn’t changed.
The 2012 Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) Racial and Gender Report Card, published by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) gave an overall C+ grade for racial hiring practices at APSE member newspapers and websites. It was the same grade awarded two years ago.
However, the report shows that actually the number of Black male and females at all four circulation-size (A, B, C, D) newspapers have barely changed since 2008. The biggest increases were in sports editors (from six to 11), columnists (from 44 to 48) and copy editors (from 26 in 2010 to 37 last year), but the biggest drop was among reporters (from 107 in 2010 to 48 in 2012).
Although the total number of White men and women employed at mainstream sports departments also has seen decreases since 2008, around 91 percent of sports editors, over 86 percent of assistant sports editors, reporters and copy editors, and nearly 84 percent of columnists remains White. The report also recorded an F for gender hiring, the third consecutive failing grade in this category.
“It remains important to have voices from different backgrounds,” insisted Lapchick, who has published racial report cards on APSE member newspapers since 2006. “My primary recommendation to the ASPE remains that it adopts a Ralph Wiley Rule, named after the late African-American writer.
“The Wiley Rule would be like the Rooney Rule in the NFL and would call for a diverse pool of candidates including people of color and women for each opening of these key positions. Is the coverage of athletes and sports in the media fair and accurate when women and people of color are the subjects of the reporting?” asked Lapchick.
That the annual NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments are annual examples of unfair and unequal coverage is evident. There are daily features, columns and stories on the men’s side leading up to tourney play, but little on the women’s.
“Are women and people of color fairly represented on today’s newspaper and website sports department staffs?” Lapchick continued.
“Clearly there remains much work to be done,” said APSE President Gerry Ahern in the report. “Our commitment to improving diversity has not wavered.” Lapchick’s latest report findings, however, show otherwise.
The TIDES director concludes, “How would a more diverse staff of sports editors, columnists and reporters affect what is commonly written about in our [mainstream] newspapers? These are the key positions where decisions on what is covered, who covers it and who offers opinions on it are made.”
Globe-tracking the Lynx
Sparta&K (Seimone Augustus) begins EuroLeague Final Eight group play March 18 in Russia, and will play three games in three days March 18-20. The semifinals are set for March 22 and the finals on March 24.
USK Praha (Rebekkah Brunson) plays in round three of the Czech League ZBL play on Wednesday March 13.
Bichumi (Amber Harris) are in the second round of South Korean playoffs. Harris is first in blocks (1.8), second in scoring (21.1) and third in rebounds (11.5).
Townsville (Jessica Adair) and Dandenong (Monica Wright) played each other two weekends ago in WNBL playoff action: Adair had seven points and 12 rebounds in the win, and Wright scored six points and grabbed six rebounds in the losing effort. Townsville played Bendigo Spirit last Sunday in the WNBL Grand Final.
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to email@example.com.