NEWS JOURNAL: “Why Aren’t More Arabs & Muslims Working In Journalism?”by Managing Editor on Feb 12, 2012 • 12:25 pm No Comments
From The Columbia Journalism Review
Group remains underrepresented in US newsrooms
There are anywhere between 3.5 and 5.1 million Americans of Arab descent, according to figures from the Arab American Institute, yet relatively few work in journalism full time. While meaningful estimates aren’t known, as journalism scholars that conduct demographic research in American newsrooms do not typically tally newsmakers of Arab descent, the National Arab American Journalists Association counts around 250 members, and half of those work for Arab American ethnic news organizations. (It should be said that the US government estimates upwards of two million Arab Americans, but the federal government essentially surrenders authority on this figure, as census forms in 2010 still categorized Arab Americans as white).
I recently published a survey in the Journal of Middle East Media of Arab American journalists’ levels of professional efficacy. I scoured news organizations and professional associations across the country for prospective Arab journalists to complete the survey. Ultimately, the survey was sent to around 240 or so Arab American newsmakers, and just under fifty completed the questionnaire.
Despite a large and growing number of Arab Americans—concentrated in major media markets like southern California, Detroit, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York City—Arabs remain underrepresented in US newsrooms.