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Chasing Newsroom Diversity

From Jim Crow to Affirmative Action

Gwyneth Mellinger

Publication Year: 2013

In this book, Gwyneth Mellinger explores the complex history of the decades-long ASNE diversity initiative, which culminated in the failed Goal 2000 effort to match newsroom demographics with those of the U.S. population. Drawing upon exhaustive reviews of ASNE archival materials, Mellinger examines the democratic paradox through the lens of the ASNE, an elite organization that arguably did more than any other during the twentieth century to institutionalize professional standards in journalism and expand the concepts of government accountability and the free press. The ASNE would emerge in the 1970s as the leader in the newsroom integration movement, but its effort would be frustrated by structures of exclusion the organization had embedded into its own professional standards. Explaining why a project so promising failed so profoundly, Chasing Newsroom Diversity expands our understanding of the intransigence of institutional racism, gender discrimination, and homophobia within democracy.

Published by: University of Illinois Press

Series: The History of Communication


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pp. 1-3

Title Page

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pp. 4-4

Copyright Page

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pp. 5-7


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pp. 8-9

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pp. ix-x

A project of this scope, more than a decade in the making, benefits from the contributions and assistance of a number of people. Topping that list are members and staff of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, almost all ...

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Introduction: The Black and White of Newspapers

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pp. 1-18

The daily newspaper editors who met in Washington, D.C., in April 1948 should not have been surprised when James O. Eastland, a U.S. senator from Mississippi, used their convention podium to defend the South’s ...

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1. Manning the Barricade: Maintaining the White Prerogative in the Face of Change, 1954-67

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pp. 19-45

In 1957, members of the American Society of Newspaper Editors were invited to participate in a Civil War reenactment of sorts, a North- South tennis tournament to be played during the annual ASNE convention. ...

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2. Seeking Justice in a Climate of Irony: The Hiring Initiative's Uneasy Prelude, 1968-76

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pp. 46-73

During his career in journalism and academia, Norman Isaacs grew accustomed to playing the odd man out in professional controversies. A thoughtful, idealistic editor with a crusader’s distaste for ambiguity, Isaacs ...

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3.  "A Sensitive and Difficult Task": Establishing a Framework for Newsroom Integration, 1977-89

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pp. 74-106

On April 8, 1978, Richard Smyser, editor of the Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Oak Ridger, asked the American Society of Newspaper Editors to take responsibility for integrating the newsrooms of U.S. daily newspapers. ...

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4. The Gay Nineties: Reimagining and Renegotiating a Multicultural Newsroom

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pp. 107-137

What began as a fairly routine report at the 1990 convention of the American Society of Newspaper Editors ended with the iconoclastic revelation that a gay man was on the organization’s membership roll. Leroy Aarons ...

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5. Diversity in Crisis: ASNE's Time of Reckoning 1998-2002

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pp. 138-165

Of the white editors who championed newsroom integration in the hiring initiative’s first decade, none could match Loren Ghiglione, a smalltown editor from Southbridge, Massachusetts, for intensity of passion and ...

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Afterword: Closing a Chapter of Newspaper History

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pp. 167-178

When he returned from the 2005 ASNE convention, Greg Moore, editor of the Denver Post, hung an oil painting of an editor’s rolltop desk in his home.1 Moore, a longtime newsroom diversity advocate and program ...

Appendix A. Draft Statement on Newsroom Diversity

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pp. 179-179

Appendix B. Mission Statement: Newsroom Diversity 2000

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pp. 181-182


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pp. 183-226


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pp. 227-236

E-ISBN-13: 9780252094644
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252037382

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: The History of Communication
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OCLC Number: 832314791
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Chasing Newsroom Diversity

Research Areas


Subject Headings

  • Minority journalists -- United States.
  • African Americans in the newspaper industry.
  • Minorities in journalism -- United States.
  • American newspapers -- History -- 20th century.
  • Diversity in the workplace -- United States.
  • Minorities -- Employment -- United States.
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