| Image credit: @universebyu/Instagram
On one hand, the job of journalists regardless of where they went to school is the same: to report the news, to find the truth and to ask tough questions. On the other hand, I do think reporters’ backgrounds can enrich and inform their reporting. I’m personally grateful I’ve lived in both conservative and liberal communities and I feel like I understand people of a wide variety of political persuasions because of those experiences.
When we talk about diversity in media, it’s usually about race and gender, because newsrooms tend to be white and male. According to the 2016 Diversity Survey from the American Society of News Editors, minorities make up 17% of employees at newspapers and 23% at online-only news sites, and women make up 38% of employees at newspapers and nearly 50% of online news sites.
BYU graduates wouldn’t necessarily make newsrooms more racially diverse or female — according to school data, it’s 83% white and 53% male — but missing from the discussion of newsroom diversity are things like faith (63% of BYU students have served Mormon missions), geography (62% come from the Western states of Utah, California, Idaho, Arizona, and Texas), and politics (BYU doesn’t have political data on their students, but Mormons are the most conservative religious group in the US).
A good reporter can capture a story and its nuance regardless of his or her background, but I do think our media benefits from diversity of all kinds, including race, gender, age, geography, faith, sexual orientation, family experience, economic background and education.
The “It’s Gonna Be Me" Bump:
Justin Timberlake marked May 1 yesterday with a tweet: