News Equity: Race & Gender

Institutionalized racism and sexism have had a major impact on U.S. public policy, to the detriment of more than half of our country’s citizens. The news industry—in terms of staff diversity and the stories covered—is still not reflective of the nation’s demographics. According to a 2017 American Society of News Editors survey, minority journalists comprised only 16.6 percent of the workforce in U.S. newsrooms, while 39 percent of newsroom employees were women. A press that does not reflect the needs and concerns of all Americans falls short in its service to democracy.

The Shorenstein Center seeks to address these disparities through programs that focus on raising awareness of gender and race-related topics in the news, and research that calls out problematic media coverage.

Research on the Effects of Racism

The Shorenstein Center received new funding for a visiting fellow devoted to researching the impact of racism on a range of policy areas. A new research reporter for Journalist’s Resource also focuses on health equity and race, to elevate awareness and understanding of the issue in reporting. Thank you to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for supporting this project.


In the Shadow of Kerner: Fifty Years Later, Newsroom Diversity and Equity Stall
May 22, 2018
By Farai Chideya, Joan Shorenstein Fellow, Spring 2017, and Program Officer, Ford Foundation

Exploring the Role of Algorithms in Online Harmful Speech
August 10, 2017
By David Talbot and Jeff Fossett

Snake and Stranger: Media Coverage of Muslims and Refugee Policy
June 22, 2017
By Meighan Stone, Entrepreneurship Fellow, spring 2017, and former president of the Malala Fund

How Women Journalists Are Silenced in a Man’s World: The Double-Edged Sword of Reporting from Muslim Countries
June 19, 2017
Yeganeh Rezaian, Joan Shorenstein Fellow (fall 2016) and Iranian journalist, formerly of Bloomberg News and The National

Rape Culture in India: The Role of the English-Language Press
July 20, 2016
By Joanna Jolly with additional reporting by Uzra Khan