Canadian newsrooms seem reluctant to share data on the diversity of their newsrooms but doing so would help hold accountable the fifth estate, according to Asmaa Malik, associate professor of journalism, and Sonya Fatah, assistant professor of journalism, at Ryerson University.
In an article published in The Conversation, Malik and Fatah said that their new research study aims to fill in important information about newsroom staffing by showing how the demographics of national newspaper columnists compare to the increasing diversity of the Canadian population.
They said that, in Canada, most print and digital news organizations have resisted processes to examine their staffing. "The conversation on the impact of industry job losses on newsroom diversity cannot advance until fundamental questions about staffing numbers are answered," they wrote.
They noted that they are working on the development of a self-reporting tool for Canadian newsrooms, "with the hope that such a strategy will be seen by media outlets as an invitation for redress."
"Self-reporting on newsroom diversity," they said, "would encourage a culture of trust and accountability, one that the journalism profession upholds in its role as a watchdog of public institutions."