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69% of Americans Want Newsrooms to Diversify, Gallup Poll Finds

60% of Black respondents said racial diversity should be the top priority, compared to just 27% of white respondents

69% of Americans believe it’s “very important” or “critical” that newsroom staffs reflect the racial diversity in America, according to a Gallup poll funded by the Knight Foundation.

The Gallup poll — conducted from Nov 2019 to Feb 2020 — also found that there were divisions over what kind of “diversity” should be prioritized among those with differing political ideologies.

49% of Democrats and 60% of Black Americans say newsrooms should prioritize racial/ethnic diversity, while 51% of Republicans and 35% of white Americans say those newsrooms should prioritize ideological diversity. Check out the Gallup findings below.

Gallup newsroom diversity poll

Graphic credit: Gallup/Knight

According to a separate Pew poll, also funded by Knight, 59% of Americans who responded that the news media does not understand them, including 73% of Republicans and 47% of Democrats. The Pew poll was conducted from mid-Feb. 2020 to March 2020.

It’s important to note that both polls were conducted before the May 25th death of George Floyd while in police custody, an event that kicked off nationwide protests against racial inequality.

Discussions of diversity in newsrooms have been ramping up in recent weeks, alongside the national conversation and unrest over systemic racism.

Some media companies have seen their top executives step down amid calls for more diverse staffing and better editorial representation and sensitivity. Earlier this week, Howard Mittman stepped down as CEO at Bleacher Report. Christine Barberich, global editor-in-chief and co-founder of Refinery29, stepped down from her role earlier this month to “help diversify” the company’s leadership. Leandra Medine Cohen, founder of the fashion blog Man Repeller, also stepped “back” from her role after criticism of her company’s response to the national conversation around systemic racism.

Bon Appétit offered a “long-overdue apology” two weeks ago, just after Adam Rapoport resigned as editor in chief following the resurfacing of a photo of him in brownface.