The data are very disturbing. It appears that the sports desks of many of the newspapers across the country have yet to discover the value of diversity in their organizations. Perhaps most troubling is the lack of diversity (especially regarding African-Americans) in the Sports Editor and other leadership positions in the newspaper sports departments. Take a look at some of the following numbers as given by the report’s author, Richard Lapchick:

“It is important to have voices from different backgrounds in the media. When 94.7 percent of the sports editors, 86.7 percent of the assistant sports editors, 89.9 percent of our columnists, 87.4 percent of our reporters and 89.7 percent of our copy editors/designers are white, and those same positions are 95, 87, 93, 90 and 87 percent male, we clearly do not have a group that reflects America’s workforce. And in the world of sports, they are covering a disproportionate number of athletes in basketball, football and baseball who are African-American or Latino. On the high school and college levels, more than 40 percent of the student-athletes are girls and women.”

Elsewhere, Scoop Jackson, national sports columnist for ESPN’s Page 2, provides excellent observations on the findings of the report, focusing on the positions filled by African-Americans. Most especially, that out of 305 sports editors at APSE newspapers, only four are black. Writes Jackson, “Four out of 305. Enough to make a white journalist turn white. Or write about.” He continues:

“Even though the 1.3 percent top management rate reflects almost any other Fortune 5000 business in America, sports, you see, is different. Along with music and entertainment, it has been one of the only places we’ve been able to find equality.

To us, sports is not a game … it represents freedom. Always has, always will. But most of America doesn’t understand that. Never has, never will.

But because of the makeup of sports, because of the ‘skewed’ number of us who play, because of its history in connection to our emancipation, the fact that only four of us have been given the opportunity to run the pages in which a major part of our history is being told gives an insight into what we black sportswriters have been saying since Pulitzer became a prize.”


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