Most Of The TV Reporters On Election Night Were White Men
If you're glued to the election coverage, and have been flipping through channel after channel, you might have noticed that many of the networks seem to be lacking diversity when it comes to their reporters. It doesn't seem to matter which channel it is — the person on the screen is almost always a white male. (In fact, I'm staring at one right now.)
Seriously. Take a quick flip through the big ones — ABC, CBS, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, and NBC — and you might agree with what I'm talking about. Of course, I'm not saying it's the case for every channel, or that female reporters were completely absent from TV's election coverage. Some channels clearly make an effort to include women and people of different races on their panels. But it does certainly seem that, more often than not, these networks lean towards white dudes.
To see just how correct this assumption could be, I indulged in a bit of an experiment. Every 30 minutes for three hours (7 p.m. EST to 10 p.m.) I took a screenshot of my big ol' TV screen. And what did I see? Well, a whole lot of white guys. But also some women and people of color, too.
Mind you, this is a totally unscientific study. And yet it was pretty interesting to take the time to see how, over the span of three hours, not a whole lot changed in terms of who was reporting the news. Take 7 p.m., for example. As I flipped through those seven channels, I caught images of 23 reporters doing their thing. Of them, nine were women — or 39 percent. Out of that group, only two were women of color.
At 7:30, I snapped 12 reporters as I rounded the channels. Out of that group, there were four white women and one black woman. That's only 33 percent female. I also came across one black man reporting, but all the rest were white.
An hour later, at 8:30, I counted 11 reporters. A whopping four were white women, and one was a black woman. That makes for an unimpressive 36 percent female presence.
As the night wore on, I noticed the slightest uptick in diversity.
At 10 p.m., I again spotted 11 reporters and was surprised to flip to channels where several women were the sole reporters. More often than not, though, a man was stealing the show.
Now, none of this is meant to come as a shock — or to demonize any networks. It's just a quick analysis of election night coverage, as well as a quick look at the lack of diversity in news reporting. It's been a discussion point for years, bubbling up even more recently, but felt especially significant in a night when we had the possibility to elect the first female president to the White House.
However, it isn't all bad. There are the Rachel Madows of the world.
And the Lester Holts. However, with Trump looking like he's going to win this election, a focus on diversity is as important as ever. If one of the reasons you disliked Trump had anything to do with his notorious racism and sexism, let my unscientific study serve as the tiniest of reminders to not let these issues fall by the wayside. Not ignoring them, or accepting them, is a step in the right direction.
Images: Carolyn Steber