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Diversity and the spiral of silence in Denver newsrooms

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Diversity and the spiral of silence in Denver newsrooms are all of the voices being heard?
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Hibbert-BeDan, Claudia
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Denver, CO
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Diversity in the workplace -- Colorado -- Denver ( lcsh )
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Includes bibliographical references (leaves 124-130).
Thesis:
Sociology
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Department of Sociology
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by Claudia Hibbert-BeDan.

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Full Text
DIVERSITY AND THE SPIRAL OF SILENCE
IN DENVER NEWSROOMS:
ARE ALL OF THE VOICES BEING HEARD?
by
Claudia Hibbert-BeDan
B.A., Metropolitan State College of Denver, 1995
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts
Sociology
1999


1999 by Claudia Hibbert-BeDan
All rights reserved.


This thesis for the Master of Arts
degree by
Claudia Hibbert-BeDan
has been approved
by
Candan Duran-Aydintug

Date


Hibbert-BeDan, Claudia (M.A., Sociology)
Diversity and the Spiral of Silence in Denver Newsrooms: Are All of the
Voices Being Heard?
Thesis directed by Assistant Professor A. Leigh Ingram
ABSTRACT
The purpose of this study was to explain what diversity means in
the newspaper industry and whether this concept has enhanced or
hindered relationships and communication among newspaper staff
members. Some literature suggests that some people are resentful about
newspapers7 method of achieving diversity, which is done not only by
creating committees and policy but by looking for specific populations
(women and minorities) to fill vacancies on their staffs. This research
was to detail newspaper staff members' opinions about the newspaper's
method of achieving diversity and the impact of such practices on
newspaper operations. The subjects of study were to be newspaper
reporters, photographers and editors employed at one of Denver's two
major daily newspapers, the Denver Rocky Mountain News or The
Denver Post. Newspaper executives at each paper, however, declined to
participate in the study.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. I
recommend its publication.
Signed
A. Leigh Ingram
IV


DEDICATION
to Michael for everything
to Mom for making me redo my homework
when she thought it was sloppy
to Miss Debbie for constant encouragement


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
Thank you to A. Leigh Ingram for understanding when I needed more
time to complete this project, Jon Winterton for saying so much in so little
time, Candan Duran-Aydintug for being so enthusiastic about sociology, Kjell
Tomblom for providing the many, many, many articles on justice theory, to
my journalism professors, Jay Brodell, who debated with me about this issue,
Richard Chapman, for his attention to detail and Alan Prendergast for
keeping an eye on the dailies, to Chris Mancuso and Donnita Wong for all the
resources and to Jill and Jeanie for always listening.


CONTENTS
Tables.....................................................ix
CHAPTER
1. WHAT IS DIVERSITY?.......................................1
Introduction.............................................1
The Variables............................................4
Objective of Research....................................8
2. AFFIRMATIVE ACTION VS. PREFERENTIAL HIRING..............12
Literature Review.......................................12
Colorizing and Feminizing the News...................12
The Injustice of Preferential Hiring.................22
The Spiral of Silence................................29
Perceptions of Justice...............................33
Procedural Justice...................................35
Distributive Justice.................................38
Importance of Study.....................................46
3. METHODOLOGY.............................................50
Direction of Research...................................50
Sample...............................................53
Procedure............................................54
Terminology..........................................55
Research Questions...................................56
4. RESULTS.................................................58
Newspapers Decline Participation........................58
5. DISCUSSION..............................................60
Denver Rocky Mountain News..............................60
The Denver Post.........................................64
The Spiral of Silence in Motion.........................65
Westword.............................................67
The Fear of Isolation................................73
The Denver Newspaper War.............................76
Diversity Fatigue....................................85
Review...............................................88
Limitations.............................................91
vii


Suggestions for Future Research......................92
APPENDICES
A. REQUESTING PARTICIPATION.............................95
First letter to the News.............................95
Second letter to the News............,...............97
First letter to the Post.............................99
Third letter to the News............................101
Second letter to the Post...........................103
B. PROPOSAL............................................105
Protocol............................................105
Consent Form........................................112
Questionnaire.......................................114
C. MULTI-NEWSPAPER CITIES..............................120
Independent Operations..............................120
Joint Operating Agreements..........................122
Common Ownerships...................................123
WORKS CITED...............................................124
vm


TABLES
TABLE
2.1 Numbers and percentages of whites and minorities by job category,
1997.......................................................21
2.2 Breakdown of minorities by race and job category, 1997.......21
2.3 Year-round full-time earnings for 1992.......................39
2.4 Key elements of the distinction between egoistic and fraternal
deprivation................................................45
IX


CHAPTER ONE
WHAT IS DIVERSITY?
Introduction
Diversity is the buzzword of the 1990s. The Census Bureau reports
that the number of minorities in America are steadily increasing, and
with this increase comes calls to diversify. Several businesses responded
to that call, even Crayola crayons with a "Multicultural" packet.
No more Flesh the pinkish orange meant to represent the one,
true skin tone. Instead, pick from Peach and Apricot, or
Mahogany and Burnt Orange. ... There are "sixteen different skin,
hair and eye colors," according to the familiar green and yellow
box, "for coloring people around the world." (Brislin and
Williams, 1996, p. 16).
Technological advances this decade have brought the world closer to
home. Because of the "information highway," people can access more
information faster than ever before. News is available from several
outlets; newspapers, for example, must compete with television, radio
and the Internet to get people's attention. Some authors say newspapers
must diversify to economically survive because of this increased
1


competition (Anfuso, 1995; Brislin, 1996; Creed, 1994; "Diversity," 1993;
Sunoo, 1994).
Several media outlets claim to have something for everyone.
Denver news team 9News on KUSA-TV has a library of advertisements
featuring its female news anchors of varying ethnic backgrounds
promoting awareness about breast cancer and reminding their female
viewers to do monthly breast exams. The Denver Rocky Mountain
News, one of the largest daily newspapers in Colorado, has a black
reporter who writes columns about events of different ethnic groups.
But the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) found that the
employment of minorities and women in the news industry lags behind
other businesses in the U.S. workforce (Newspaper Association of
America, 1995). As a result, minorities and females have been in high
demand in the news industry, much to the chagrin of new white male
applicants vying for the few spaces available. Media executives justify
the move to hire women and minorities by saying women and
minorities can provide perspectives and reach populations that white
males cannot. The executive's beliefs might partly be attributed to an
effort to prevent the embarrassments of news agencies that have
2


stereotyped groups of different ethnic, racial or religious backgrounds,
sexual preferences, or physical abilities (Black, et al., 1992).
Proponents of the push to diversify the newsroom say it
improves the newspaper, company morale, employee retention, as well
as communication and understanding among the reporters, editors and
society (Anfuso, 1995; Black et al, 1993; Creed, 1994; "Diversity," 1993;
Martindale, 1986; Sunoo, 1994; Swanston, 1995). Diversity policies and
task forces responsible for ensuring fair and accurate representations
of the news and the different members of society who are written about
have been implemented at several newspapers. The American
Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) is credited for being one of the first
agencies to implement policies to increase the number of minorities in
the newspaper industry by establishing the Year 2000 Goal in 1978. The
goal was to increase the number of minorities in the newspaper business
to make it proportional to the minority representation in the United
States. Several newspapers soon followed ASNE's lead by providing
scholarships and internships, and sponsoring job fairs and training
programs to find, hire and promote minorities. Such practices, however,
also created tension and resentment.
3


Opponents of the push to diversify the newsroom say the
"preference" to hire women and minorities over males who are not
minorities is unjust (Brimelow, 1992; Lynch, 1991; McGowan, 1993;
Shepard, 1993; Simurda, 1992). White men are immediately
disadvantaged, and some charge that less qualified women and
minorities are chosen for jobs over more qualified white men. Lynch
(1991) says white males aren't even allowed to complain when they are
rejected for jobs because the political climate discourages opposition to
affirmative action policies. Simurda (1992) says "newspapers are meeting
with some success in creating a multicultural newsroom, [but] their
efforts are creating swirls of controversy and tensions that management
has yet to learn to cope with" (p. 19).
The Variables
The most important variable to understand in this discussion is
diversity. In general, diversity has been defined as the number of
minority employees working in the newsroom. The National
Association of Media Executives, for example, awarded its Distinguished
Diversity Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1994 to The Seattle Times.
The Times' Publisher and CEO Frank Blethen was said to be a leader for
4


aligning the ethnic make-up of his company's employees to the rest of
the community. The newspaper also was praised for conducting
"diversity training, a companywide diversity newsletter and a diversity
council [which] have ingrained pluralism in to the company culture"
(Anfuso, 1995, p. 31).
But what exactly is diversity? Voakes et al. (1996) found that
"research in media diversity has suffered from a lack of agreement as to
its basic conceptual definition" (p. 582). If this is so, how do news
executives know that diversity, however it is defined, assures that all
voices are heard? Newspaper employees of all ethnic backgrounds at
some time or another have complained that editors don't listen to their
ideas. Voakes et al. (1996) offer two possible definitions for diversity.
"Source diversity is a dispersion of the representation of affiliations and
status positions used to create a news product" (Voakes et al, 1996, p. 583-
584). Content diversity is the "representation of ideas, perspectives,
attributions, opinions or frames within a news product and in the
context of one particular issue" (Voakes et al., 1996, p. 585). But source
diversity in this case, increasing the number of minorities on staff
does not necessarily ensure content diversity. Voakes et al. found that
source diversity and content diversity operate independently, a
5


conclusion that Voakes et al. say has important implications in the
discussion about newsroom diversity.
Critics who urge broader diversity in the news media may be
assuming that diversity of gender and ethnic or economic groups,
either in sources or in news personnel, will be followed by a
diversity in content. Again, there is no guarantee of that result.
This is not to say that employment diversity of source diversity
are unimportant or superficial. They represent important social
and economic goals, and their realization in the news media has
undeniable value. (Voakes et al., 1996, p. 591)
Heider (1996) observed one meeting in which a minority journalist tried
to make suggestions for news stories but was discounted. It is an
example illustrating that source diversity (a black journalist on one
news staff) did not necessarily beget content diversity (the representation
of new ideas).
Discussion in this particular morning news meeting had turned
to gang violence. In the midst of the discussion, a black journalist,
the only person of color in the meeting, suggested it might be
time to start looking at the causes of the violence. There was a
period of brief silence after the suggestion, and then conversation
moved back to the more recent incidents. Several minutes later,
the black journalist restated his idea, suggesting needs to cover
such issues as the lack of education in the ethnic community or
how poverty might affect rises in youth violence. Again,
moments of silence followed. The suggestion was ignored, and
conversation move on. The journalist did not press his point
further. (Heider, 1996, p. 11).
Statistics show that white men most often are responsible for what ends
up in the newspapers. But is it enough to say that increasing the number
6


of minorities in the newsroom will change the color of the published
stories? This is an area necessary of study.
A second variable in this discussion relates to fairness. Given the
above, is it fair for the news industry to hire and promote minorities
instead of white males under the guise that it will improve the
newspaper operations and what appears in the newspaper? Procedural
and distributive justice concepts, which address issues of fairness,
should also be considered in a study about diversity. Procedural justice
relates to the way resources (in this case jobs) in the newspaper
industry, are allocated. Distributive justice relates to the amount of a
resource that is allocated, which could be the perceived number of jobs
given to minorities. Methods to achieve diversity, such as job fairs,
scholarships, internships or training programs for minorities, could be
perceived as unfair because such initiatives violate certain procedural
rules. Procedural rules, defined in-depth later in this work, mandate that
everyone gets the same treatment, that resources are allocated without
bias, that accurate information is considered in giving resources, that the
person affected has a chance to have input in regard to the said resource
and that the person is treated respectfully and/or politely during the
7


transaction. A study in diversity could provide insightful findings on
this issue of the fairness of diversity initiatives.
Objective of Research
Research about diversity in the newsroom either lauds its benefits
or laments that it alienates members of the news staff. Little research
explains whether diversity initiatives or affirmative action policies have
changed how newspapers operate. One study found that the experiences
of 531 white and minority newsroom professionals "contrast so sharply
that they're nearly mirror images of each other" (MORI Research, 1996,
p. 1). The sample for this study included 202 whites, 115 blacks, 105 Asian
Americans, 92 Hispanics and 17 American Indians. The gender
distribution was 53 percent males and 47 percent females. MORI
researchers called their findings "generally discouraging [but said] there
is one relative bright spot. The minority journalists tended to be less
pessimistic about their own situations than they were about minorities
in general" (MORI Research, 1996, p. 1) Minorities and whites who
participated in the MORI study had different perceptions in several
areas, especially on the subject of hiring and promotions. Minorities
tended to believe that they were less likely to be promoted, while whites
8


believed that minorities were considered first for promotions. Whites
said performance standards for minorities were low, but minority
groups said their performance standards were higher than those for
whites.
This study was to evaluate diversity initiatives and their effects
on the operation of two Denver-area newspapers. When newspaper
executives were asked to participate in this study, President Clinton had
established an advisory board for the "President's Initiative on Race."
The seven-member group traveled around the nation on a year-long
mission to discuss race relations and to promote a dialogue among the
nation's citizens. Denver was the seventh stop on the tour, and the
discussions were punctuated by protests from members of the American
Indian and Hispanic communities. Representatives for the groups said
they were angry because the advisory board, which consisted of three
whites, two blacks, one Hispanic and one Asian, didn't have an
American Indian representative.
Additionally, the state of Colorado, Denver in particular, had
experienced population increases among minority groups, and in the
newspaper industry, new people are considered to be potential
subscribers. Denver is unique because of its newspaper war. Only 2
9


percent of America's cities have two competing major daily newspapers
owned by independent operations (Biagi, 1996), and Denver is one of
them. The newspaper war is said to be beneficial for the readers because
neither newspaper can miss a beat. Doing so could mean the loss of
subscribers to the competition.
Ask any journalism professor news wars are hot stuff, and
they're good for the economy. Advertisers pay less than they
would in a one-paper town, and so do subscribers. Most of all,
competition supposedly benefits the public since neither
combatant can afford to ignore important local stories.
(Prendergast, 1997b, p.2)
The Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News, recently renamed the
Denver Rocky Mountain News try to one-up each other on a daily basis.
Each tries to publish stories, and each has columnists that speak to
certain factions of the public. Newspaper executives from each paper,
however, declined to participate in this study for reasons that weren't
completely clear. This work, therefore, is a springboard to point out
several questions about diversity in the news industry that should be
addressed, including the following questions:
(1) What effect could the increase of minorities in Colorado have on the
operation of these papers?
(2) Should the increase in minorities mean that the newspapers should
hire more minority employees?
10


(3) How do news executives know that increasing the number of
minorities on a news staff will equate to a better newspaper and
improved communication between the races?
(4) What diversity initiatives, if any, do the newspapers have in place?
(5) How are those initiatives defined?
(6) What are the effects of such initiatives on newspaper operations and
relationships among staff members?
11


CHAPTER TWO
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION VS. PREFERENTIAL HIRING
Literature Review
Colorizing and Feminizing the News
The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), a national
organization of educators, editors and reporters, says diversity is
synonymous with journalism ethics.
Diversity is clearly a part of accuracy and fairness, whether it
relates to avoiding stereotypes or redefining news to better reflect
a multicultural society. Diversity is about the makeup of news
organizations and about who is making decisions. Diversity is
about the way story ideas are developed and who does the
reporting. Diversity is about inclusiveness in choosing sources
and about giving a voice to the voiceless. (Black, et al., 1993, p.
121).
Journalists have been talking about diversity for more than 30 years.
After the numerous social upheavals leading up to and during the
1960s, President Lyndon B. Johnson created the National Advisory
Commission on Civil Disorders to investigate the causes of ghetto riots.
One of the commission's findings was that the media "had made a
substantial effort to present a balanced and factual account of the
12


disorders but had nonetheless exaggerated both the mood and scale of
the disturbances" (Martindale, 1986, p. 3). Some (Anfuso, 1995; Creed,
1994; Heider, 1996; Martindale, 1986; Rivers, 1996; Sunoo, 1994) correlate
this trend, which apparently still plagues the industry, to
"homogeneous" staffs that are out of touch with the communities they
are covering.
Four minority journalist associations met together for the first
time at Unity '94 to redress some issues discussed in the '60s. The July
1994 conference included participants from the Asian American
Journalists Association, the Native American Journalists Association,
the National Association of Black Journalists and the National
Association of Hispanic Journalists, which suggested ways to achieve
diversity when reporting the news and hiring the people to report it.
They attended workshops to improve their reporting and editing skills
as well as panel discussions that covered everything from how to tell the
differences between racially sensitive caricatures and racially offensive
stereotypes in editorial cartoons and how to avoid sensationalizing
crime stories when minorities are accused of the offense.
An editorial decision at Time magazine a month before the
conference gave participants plenty to discuss. After O.J. Simpson was
13


arrested in connection with the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown
Simpson, and her companion, Ron Goldman, both Time and, its rival,
Newsweek ran feature stories with O.J. Simpson's police mug shot on
their covers.
But the Time cover had been altered, giving Simpson a more
sinister look. ... The photo, distributed by The Associated Press,
was run unaltered by Newsweek. In the computer-enhanced
version that appeared on Time's cover, Simpson's facial
expression is unchanged, but his skin and stubble are darker and
the contours of his face blurred. The background is lightened to
dramatize the contrasts, evoking a more baleful and somber
mood [italics in original]. (Biagi, 1996, p. 330)
Time used questionable ethics in altering Simpson's photo. Policy for
The Associated Press says the "contents of a photograph will never be
changed or manipulated in any way. ... The integrity of AP's photo
report is our highest priority" (Black, et al., 1993, p. 152). The Society of
Professional Journalists says news publications should "seek truth and
to report it as fully as possible" (Black, et al., 1993, p. 11). Time was not
fully reporting the truth by digitally manipulating the photo. The
magazine's decision to alter the picture, however inadvertently,
perpetuated a stereotype. Simpson's guilt was public fodder for months
before his trial would begin. Journalists at the Unity '94 conference
thought that the editors at Time believed darkening Simpson's face
would make him look more guilty. A spokeswoman for the magazine
14


said Time did not mislead the public in changing the mug shot because
the picture was labeled as a photo illustration. She said the magazine
only "wanted a cover to create a 'somber, unforgettable' image that went
beyond the more widely seen police photo" (Biagi, 1996, p. 330).
Nonetheless, Time's editor later apologized.
Perhaps Time editors were swayed by the same images they help
to create. They are not the first to play with the public's perception of
black males. Former President George Bush was criticized in 1988 for
using images of convicted black rapist Willie Horton in a commercial to
illustrate his vow to get tough on crime. Critics said the commercial
encouraged "the white population to conceive people of color as welfare
cheats and criminals" (Ezekiel, 1995, p. 322). Charles Stewart, a white
furrier from a Boston suburb, in 1989 told police that a black man
jumped into his car and ordered Stewart, along with his pregnant wife,
to drive to a remote location. Stewart said that this fictional black man
then shot him and killed his wife. Before the truth came out and it was
revealed that Stewart killed his wife for insurance money, several black
men reported that they were harassed by the police, an action that ended
up "fouling the city's already polluted racial atmosphere" (Lacoya, 1994,
p. 47). Convicted murderer Susan Smith first told authorities that her
15


sons, aged 3 years old and 14 months, were kidnapped by a black man.
She later confessed in November 1994 to drowning her boys in her car.
Time editors erred in their decision and should have considered
how it could have negatively influenced public opinion about dark-
skinned black males, especially those with dark complexions. Martindale
(1986) says the media is partly responsible for some people's negative
perceptions about black people.
[T]he way the media portray black Americans and report on
relations between the races strongly influences the way the public
perceives these aspects of American life. Media reportage can
promote attitudes of acceptance, or of hostility and fear; it can
increase understanding, or it can encourage repression; it can
expose problems and present suggested solutions, or it can ignore
uncomfortable situations until they explode into violence.
(Martindale, 1986, p. 1)
Campbell (1995) says the fast pace of the news industry causes
some stories to be published "without a good deal of thought given to
the more complex framework in which those stories exist, including the
historical, economic, political or sociological factors that have affected
the stories" (p. 115); hence, accuracy and fairness, "the very heart of
journalism" (Black et al., 1993, p. 43), might be difficult to achieve
without diverse staffs. Journalists at the Unity conference said that Time
might have ruled differently if a minority was deciding how to play the
photo. Heider (1996) says some minority journalists have taken it upon
16


themselves to explain certain issues about and to find stories within
their own communities, but at the same time they also worry about
being typecast as the "ethnic beat" reporter.
Diverse staffs have benefited some newspapers. Lunchtime rap
sessions at the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman were said to have
encouraged communication among the staff members and were
especially helpful after a shooting involving white police officers and a
group of blacks attending a Juneteenth Celebration (Black et al., 1993).
The American-Statesman's reporters wondered how to cover the story,
"particularly, according to [the paper's editor Maggie] Balough, after a
late evening television newscast characterized the incident very
emotionally" (Black, et al., 1993, p. 126). The paper even delayed printing
to clarify some points. After the story was published, black reporters
who'd attended the festival relayed questions and feedback to the paper
from blacks in the community. The result was a discussion during
which non-minorities were able to express "their fears that no matter
how hard they had tried, the coverage might be perceived as racist, [and]
black staff members were able to explain the skepticism and mistrust
with which people of color historically view the media" (Black, et al.,
17


1993, p. 127). The dialogue also prompted ideas for stories about other
segments of the population that were not being covered.
Another newspaper exploring allegations of racism in the schools
of Chicago's south suburbs went outside its walls in its quest to ensure
fairness and accuracy. The Daily Southtown Economist serves
communities that range from all-white to all-black; therefore, a
multicultural perspective was necessary for the newspaper to reach all of
its subscribers. A team of reporters interviewed students of varying
backgrounds for its series, "The 4th 'R'," but all the editors who would
ultimately decide what would be printed were white. The newspaper's
editor Michael Kelley "sought the advice of black journalists [inside and
outside of the newspaper, who helped clarify] ... references to Malcolm X
in some stories prompting the editors to do more research" (Black, et al.,
1993, p. 133). But while the above examples point out that having
minorities on staff or assisting a news staff can be helpful, it also
illustrates how having more time can encourage people to think about
what they are going to publish.
Statistics from ASNE and the NAA show that the percentage of
women and minorities in the industry has steadily increased. The
number of women in the news industry has increased more than other
18


groups. Women presently represent 41 percent of the journalism work
force (Bridge, 1997; NAA Diversity Department, 1997). Bridge (1997) adds
that that "the gains have been primarily among white women. ...
Minority female employment has gone back and forth between 7 and 8
percent" (p. 44).
Table 2.1 shows numbers and percentages of whites and
minorities by job type. ASNE reported that whites make up about 89
percent of newspaper staffs, while minorities make up a little more than
11 percent. ASNE's numbers, however, are not broken down by sex.
Table 2.1 shows that most minorities are reporters or photographers, and
therefore, are not in decision-making positions at the newspaper.
Reporters and photographers can pitch ideas for assignments, but they
don't normally make calls on what gets published. They get assignments
from supervisors or editors. Copy editors are responsible for the editorial
content of the newspaper; they polish news stories by fact-checking, by
correcting grammar or by adding information. Layout editors are
responsible for the design of the news pages (i.e. what photographs or
graphics should accompany each story). Layout editors also help to
decide which stories are most important by their placement in the paper
(i.e. the front page or inside pages).
19


Table 2.2 shows the breakdown of minorities on newspaper staffs.
The table shows that there are more blacks than Hispanics, Asians and
American Indians in decision-making positions as supervisors, copy
editors and layout editors although the numbers are small. Table 2.2
also shows that there are more Hispanics and Asians than there are
blacks and American Indians working as photographers. There are also
more blacks than Hispanics, Asians and American Indians working as
reporters. The number of minorities in journalism has tripled since the
late 1970s (ASNE, 1997), but some still complain that the news only
caters to a select few. Hence, the call to increase the number of
minorities is a continuing debate in the news industry.
20


Table 2.T. Numbers and percentages of whites and minorities by job category, 1997
Total work force Whites Minorities
No. Pet. No. Pet.
supervisors 12,907 11,762 91.1% 1,145 8.9%
copy/layout editors 10,264 9,207 89.7% 1,057 14.0%
reporters 25,074 21,951 87.5% 3,123 12.5%
photographers 5,759 4,953 86.0% 806 14.0%
TOTAL 54,004 47,873 88.65% 6,131 11.35%
Source: ASNE
Table 2.2: Breakdown of minorities by race and job category, 19971
Total work force Blacks Hispanics Asians American Indians
No. Pet. No. Pet. No. Pet. No. Pet.
supervisors 12,907 554 4.3% 345 2.7% 168 1.3% 78 0.6%
copy/layout editors 10,264 480 4.7% 289 2.8% 242 2.4% 46 0.4%
reporters 25,074 1,629 6.5% 877 3.5% 520 2.0% 97 0.4%
photographers 5,759 266 5.4% 300 5.2% 211 3.7% 29 0.5%
TOTAL 54,004 2,929 5.4% 1,811 3.4% 1,141 2.1% 250 0.5%
Source: ASNE
Numbers might not add up exactly because of rounding.


The Injustice of Preferential Hiring
The decisions at the American-Statesman and the Economist
illustrate how asking for different opinions and taking the time to
consult minorities on some issues has benefited the editorial process.
Several authors (Black, et al., 1993; Brislin and Williams, 1996; Campbell,
1995; Creed, 1994, "Diversity," 1993; Heider, 1996; Martindale, 1986;
Rivers, 1996; Sunoo, 1994) laud the practice of increasing the number of
women and minorities in the workplace, and the practice is employed in
many of America's corporations (Shepard, 1993). The method of
boosting the number of underrepresented groups, however, is coming
under fire. Some white men believe they've been placed in the
unenviable position once occupied by minorities and women
(Brimelow, 1992; Lynch, 1991; McGowan, 1993; Shepard, 1993; Simurda,
1992). "David Hamilton,... an assistant managing editor and recruiter at
Newsday, says, 'Given an equal choice, we'll tilt toward the minority to
address ills that have built up over the course of the century'" (Shepard,
1993, p. 21). Brian Cour, a sports editor in 1992 at The Oregonian, told
one author that "'People with above-average skills are being passed over
in favor of people with marginal skills. You don't have the most
talented people doing the job'" (Simurda, 1992, p. 19).
22


Affirmative action has always had some detractors, but it was
"accepted if grudgingly by business, because businesses knew that
employees and job applicants could bring suit under federal guidelines"
(Rivers, 1996, p. 132). Some businesses used quota systems and set
agendas to hire and promote a certain number of people from
underrepresented groups. While some people disagree with the policy,
Lou Harris and Associates, a polling firm, reports that a little over half to
two-thirds of adults favored affirmative action (Harris, 1992). But
substitute the words racial preference for affirmative action and different
opinions emerge. Lou Harris measured the public's attitude about the
phrases two times.
We asked the same cross-section of 1,250 adults the following
questions: [1] Do you favor or oppose federal laws requiring
affirmative action [italics in original] programs for minorities in
employment and in education, provided there are no rigid
quotas? and [2] Do you favor or oppose federal laws requiring
racial preference [italics in original] programs for minorities in
employment and in education, provided there are no rigid
quotas? ... Both yielded margins of 7-1, the difference being that
"affirmative action" came up 7-1 positive, while "racial
preference" came up 7-1 negative. To the people interviewed,
affirmative action connoted such positive things as "doing
something good for people who have not had an equal chance ..."
By contrast, "racial preference" was taken to mean "reverse
discrimination ..." [It implied] setting quotas by race, which [the
Supreme Court case Regents of the University of California
v.]Bakke and Weber clearly outlawed. (Harris, 1992, p. 20)
23


Affirmative action is supposed to promote nondiscriminatory practices
in hiring, promotions or admissions to college, but some whites say the
policy discriminates against them.
Resentment grew about affirmative action and quota systems after
Alan Bakke, a white student who was denied admission to medical
school at the University of California at Davis, won a suit against the
college. In the Supreme Court case, Regents of the University of
California v. Bakke (1978), Bakke challenged "setaside" slots, reserved
for minorities to encourage their careers in medicine. Bakke said the
practice was unfair, especially since he had higher grades than some of
the minorities who were admitted because of quotas. The Supreme
Court ultimately ruled 5-4 that Bakke should be admitted to the school
and that fixed quotas were illegal; however, the court did make a
provision "that race could be a factor in admissions programs in order to
secure a more diversified student body" (Davidson, et al., 1990, p. 1298).
The Supreme Court would hear many more cases after Bakke's,
and the court's rulings took a "conservative shift" between 1980 and
1988 on the subject of government programs that were implemented as
a method to achieve racial parity (Savage, 1997b; Storrs, 1992). The
reasoning for affirmative action programs was the belief that the
24


country's history of discrimination prevented equal opportunity for
minority groups. White men then challenged the programs on the same
basis that they were denied equal opportunity. Earl Fullilove and
other white-owned contractors filed suit against the state and city of
New York saying that a provision to allot 10 percent of local public
works projects to minority-owned businesses put whites at a
disadvantage. The state never considered allotting a fixed percentage of
business to white men, which prompted the contractors to say that they
were denied equal protection under the law, which was in violation of
their 14th Amendment rights. The Supreme Court judges, however,
disagreed. In Fullilove v. Klutznick (1980), the court ruled 6:3 that the
program did not violate the terms of the 14th Amendment, presumably
under the assumption that white males didn't need quotas to assure
their livelihoods.
Eight years later, however, the court ruled 6:3 that a program in
Richmond, Virginia, to allot a certain percentage of government
contracting jobs to minority businesses was unfair. The City of
Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co. (1988) case was similar to Fullilove, except
in Croson, officials of the city of Richmond said 30 percent of the city's
construction work should go to minority-owned businesses. J.A. Croson
25


then sued on the grounds that his 14th Amendment rights of equal
protection were violated. The court agreed and said "the city, had not
presented enough evidence of discrimination ... to justify remedying
past discrimination" (Stores, 1992).
White women, who are supposed to benefit from affirmative
action policies, are filing complaints. Since white women have made
gains in some industries, companies' focuses are shifting more toward
minorities. According to Shepard (1993), "[w]hen managers talk about
diversity, they include white women, but there's a greater focus on
hiring and promoting minorities" (p. 20). In the 1990s, Sharon Taxman,
a white woman, filed suit under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 after she,
instead of a black woman, was laid off from her job at a New Jersey
school.
The facts of the case are simple. In 1989, the Piscataway High
School decided to lay off a business education teacher. Tied for the
least seniority were Sharon Taxman and Debra Williams, [a black
teacher] who had started work the same day. Rather than flip a
coin, school officials invoked their affirmative action plan and
laid off Taxman ... (Savage, 1997a, p. 1)
A group of civil rights organizations ultimately provided the major
portion of a $433,000 settlement that the Piscataway Township Board of
Education paid to Taxman rather than risk the elimination of the
school's affirmative action initiatives in court (Greenwood, 1997, p. 2A).
26


The settlement disappointed some affirmative action foes (Scripps-
McClatchy, 1997), but there are new cases challenging affirmative action
policies. Yvette Farmer, a white sociologist, claimed that she was
overlooked for a teaching job at the University of Nevada at Reno after a
black sociologist, who had emigrated from Uganda, Africa, got the job.
Farmer was hired a year later, but she then found that she was making
$11,000 less than her male counterpart.
The university's affirmative action plan included an unwritten
'minority bonus' policy that authorized the pay disparity ... [, but
the Nevada Supreme Court ruled in early 1997 on] a 3-2 vote [that]
the university can give hiring preferences and higher salaries to
minority faculty members. (Savage, 1997b, p. 1)
Farmer's case, however, raised another challenging question for Justice
Charles Springer: How is hiring an emigrant from Africa justified under
affirmative action a policy implemented to redress past
discrimination against American minorities?
Federal and state governments have changed their policies since
the original inception of affirmative action in the 1960s. The Supreme
Court decided in November 1997 to uphold a California measure to
eliminate race and gender preferences in employment and education
(Yeager, 1997). After that, the state of Washington in 1998 passed a law
banning considerations of race in employment and college admissions.
27


The Colorado state legislature also has considered bills to eliminate the
consideration of race in employment and college admission. The bills
have failed but are gaming support.
Randy Pech, a Colorado businessman, gained national notoriety
in 1995 when he challenged a program that gave government contracts
to businesses owned by women and minorities and said it was "reverse
discrimination." He initially won a U.S. Supreme Court case that
prohibited some "breaks" for businesses owned by women and
minorities, but the Supreme Court's ruling was being debated in the
Court of Appeals. Pech then filed suit to be classified as "disadvantaged"
so he could be on equal footing with minority- and women-owned
businesses. Pech claimed that dedicating jobs to women- and minority-
owned businesses was preventing his business the opportunity to make
money, but when Pech's business was also classified as "disadvantaged"
and he was competing on the same terms with minority- and women-
owned businesses, the Court of Appeals in March 1999 ruled that he no
longer had a claim (Abbott, 1999). But, in a similar case, the U.S.
Supreme Court in March 1999 ruled in favor of a program in Utah
which gave minority and women business owners extra help in
winning government highway contracts, but against a program to
28


promote minorities and women over qualified white men with higher
test scores in a Texas fire department.
The Spiral of Silence
Though several professionals in the news industry have voiced
their support for and opposition to affirmative action, the spiral of
silence can hinder some from talking about their concerns. The spiral of
silence begins when people believe they hold an opinion that others do
not share. A couple of things then happen. People either start to base
their opinions on what others believe, or they don't say anything at all.
The result of such actions is that people's "restraint [makes] the view
that was receiving vocal support appear to be stronger than it really was,
and the other view [is believed to be] weaker" (Noelle-Neumann, 1984,
P-5)-
Noelle-Neumann (1984) developed the spiral of silence
hypothesis during elections in West Germany in the late 1960s. Public
opinion polls at that time showed that half the people supported Social
Democrats, while the other half supported Christian Democrats. As an
experiment, one of Noelle-Neumann's students wore a button in
support of Christian Democrats but later removed the button because of
29


hostility from people in the community. Noelle-Neumann said the
student's actions were understandable because the Social Democrats
were more visible and willing to express and display their convictions. It
did not matter that both groups had an equal share of the community's
support.
The spiral of silence hypothesis proposes that accuracy in the
assessment of the climate of opinion on an issue is irrelevant to
the hypothesis. It is the perception of the climate of opinion
which counts, however accurate or inaccurate that perception
might be [italics in original]. (Rimmer and Howard, 1990, p. 48)
Lynch (1991) finds the same pattern among whites on the subject
of affirmative action. He cites data from studies in the late 1970s and
early 1980s that shows that "the majority of Americans have been
overwhelmingly opposed to affirmative action as quotas or preferential
treatment. Yet interview data gathered here and elsewhere show that
people perceive the pro-quota viewpoint as the majority viewpoint"
(Lynch, 1991, p. 112). Lynch says that the whites he interviewed felt
uncomfortable, even guilty, discussing their opposition to affirmative
action policies because proponents "have been able to invoke guilt over
past treatment of blacks in the United States" (p. 112). The discomfort
that some feel about opposing measures such as affirmative action
might be attributed to the pressure to conform to a group's beliefs.
30


Smith (1982) distinguishes two types of conformity.
Simple compliance, sometimes called expedient conformity,
occurs when a person publicly expresses attitudes and behaviors
acceptable to the group, yet hold private beliefs at odds with the
group. ... In contrast, private acceptance, or true conformityj occurs
when an individuals internalizes group norms as his or her own.
In this case a person's public and private beliefs are congruent
with group norms [italics in original]. (Smith, 1982, p. 160).
People, therefore, might subscribe or conform with some group beliefs
because they believe such a stance will benefit them in some way. White
men, for instance, might say they support issues such as affirmative
action because they don't want to be perceived as racists. But Lynch
(1991) says implementing affirmative action programs to redress the
history of minorities' unequal treatment in America is a type of
cognitive dissonance. People's cognitions, or beliefs, "may be either a
consonant or a dissonant relationship [italics in original]. ... For example,
cigarette smoking is in a dissonant relation to the knowledge that
smoking cause disease and death. A behavior like lying is dissonant
with the belief that one is an honest person" (Smith, 1982, p. 121). This is
why some people might find it difficult to vocally oppose measures such
as affirmative action; doing so might be interpreted to mean that the
person approves of discrimination against minorities. Lynch (1991)
argues the choice to state political views about affirmative action puts
31


whites in a difficult position. "The ideal of equality and the legacy of
slavery and discrimination contradict each other. The conflict generates
tension, embarrassment and guilt in the mind of most Americans"
(Lynch, 1991, p. 112). Cognitive dissonance might be why some news
professionals report that they've also spiraled into silence on affirmative
action policies, especially if they believe that their newspaper's diversity
mission statement discourages dissenting opinions. That silence could
then influence how people form their views about affirmative action
and how they gauge who supports the measure and who is against it.
Noelle-Neumann (1984) uses three themes to explain the process
of forming public opinion.
the human ability to realize when public opinion grows and/or
weakens in strength;
the reaction to perceived public opinion, which prompts silence
or more confident speech and actions; and
the fear of isolation, which influences whether people will
conform to other people's opinions.
Several other factors, including socio-economic factors (Lasorsa, 1991)
media exposure (Rimmer and Howard, 1990) or political institutions
(Allen, 1991), can impact how people perceive their environments and
32


strongly influences whether they will express or suppress their opinions.
The media have been found to be especially influential when people
form public opinion during times of war (Eveland, McLeod and
Signorielli, 1995), during elections (Katz and Baldassare, 1992) and
*
during government trials (Gonzenbach, 1992). One study that analyzed
the actual and perceived support in the United States for the Persian
Gulf War, found that 53.1 percent of the public was neutral, disagreed or
strongly disagreed with the government conflict, while only 6.6 percent
said they strongly supported it (Eveland, McLeod and Signorielli, 1995).
The media, however, was not strong in its support when they reported
on the war. The media could influence the public's opinion about
affirmative action, therefore, as the media report more cases that
challenge the policy's existence and show more people becoming
outspoken in their opposition to affirmative action measures.
Perceptions of Tustice
The move to colorize and feminize the newsroom is somewhat of
a means to make amends for historical wrongs. Inequalities for women
and minorities are evident throughout American history. The civil
rights movement during the 1960s, however, showed most blatantly
33


that America was not living up to its national creed of providing
opportunity for all. The media documented some of these wrongs in
print and on film, which were broadcast and redistributed throughout
the world and, in effect, helped to change national policy. Affirmative
action and racial quotas were the direct result of the Civil Rights Act of
1964. Rivers (1996) says "the civil rights movement brought fairly broad
recognition that blacks and later women had indeed faced severe
discrimination in the job market and that some remedial action was
only fair" (p. 132). Research has shown, however, that different people
have different ways of determining what is "fair."
People's satisfaction or dissatisfaction with different situations can
depend on how certain resources are allocated (Foa and Foa, 1976).
People might be more concerned with the resource amount or type
(distributive justice), or they might be more concerned with how
resources are given (procedural justice). To determine how resource
types can affect justice perceptions, Foa and Foa (1976) established six
resource types that fit into two categories particularistic and
universalistic. Particularistic resources (status, love and services) get
their value based on the relationships among the people exchanging the
resource (p. 102). Universalistic resources (information, money and
34


goods) "retain the same value and meaning regardless of the relation
between, of characteristics of, the reinforcing agent and the recipient" (p.
102). Foa and Foa's work shows how resource types can influence justice
perceptions.
Procedural Tustice
Early research in procedural justice focused on situations in
organizations, politics and interpersonal relationships (Lind and Tyler,
1988; van den Bos, et al., 1997). But the concept of procedural justice is
also relevant when people apply for jobs since being employed can
elevate one's status in society. Since status is a particularistic resource,
the way it is allocated is likely to be more important than how much
status is given. Indeed, status is difficult to measure in amounts because
it "indicates an evaluative judgment that conveys prestige, regard or
esteem" (Foa and Foa, 1976, p. 101). The same can be said of the
particularistic resource love which is defined as "an expression of
affectionate regard, warmth or comfort" (Foa and Foa, 1976, p. 101).
Spending time with loved ones is one way people can show love; hence,
how people spend time with their loved ones (i.e. whether they are nice)
might be more important than the amount of time that people spend
35


together. If people act as though they'd rather be somewhere else when
they are spending time with their loved ones, the amount of time that is
spent with the loved one becomes less important.
Leventhal (1980) has established six procedural justice rules
consistency, bias suppression, accuracy of information, correctability,
representativeness and ethicality to evaluate the fairness of different
situations. More detailed explanations of the procedural rules are
provided below.
consistency A fair procedure would illustrate "that [the]
treatment of all individuals is compatible with stated rules, goals
and values" (Ayers, 1992, p. 225). That is, what happens for one
should happen for all.
bias suppression Most procedures are seen as unfair if the
decision-maker "has a vested interest in any specific decision ... [or
if the decision-maker] is so influenced by his or her prior beliefs
that all points of view do not receive adequate and equal
consideration" (Lind and Tyler, 1988, p. 131). Bias is to be avoided,
and the decision-maker must be viewed as impartial for
procedures to seem fair.
accuracy of information When decisions are based on
inaccurate information, the procedure will be seen as unfair.
People who employ expert or well-informed opinions when they
are gathering information to make their decisions enhance the
perception of procedural fairness.
correctability Procedures are believed to be fair if provisions
exist to identify problems then change decisions that are believed
to be unfair. Grievance and appeals processes, as well as
monitoring programs, are necessary elements in fulfilling this
rule.
36


representativeness This rule says that people must be given an
opportunity to voice their opinions or concerns when decisions
are being made. Research has found that people believe most
procedures are fair when they are allowed to express their
opinions even if the decision doesn't go the way they wanted
(Gilliland and Beckstein, 1996). By allowing people to express their
concerns, decision-makers can better illustrate that they are
impartial and are gathering enough information to form a just
decision.
ethicality This rule says that people are to be treated
respectfully and politely to believe that they are being treated
fairly. "Procedural justice depends on the extent to which an
allocation procedures conforms to personal standards of ethics
and morality" (Lind and Tyler, 1988, p. 132). Hence, if people find
out they were deceived when decisions were made, they will
believe that the procedure was unjust.
It appears that all of the aforementioned procedure rules have
been violated when resources were allocated to women and minorities
in America. Male and female minorities and white women have been
paid less than white males and have had fewer options for employment
throughout history (Davidson, et al., 1990). In the past, women had to be
satisfied with nurturing or support jobs as nurses, teachers or secretaries,
while minority males and females were to be satisfied with service jobs
as cooks, maids, railroad porters or elevator operators. The
discrimination experienced by white women and minorities is a
violation of the consistency rule because the U.S. Constitution promises
equal opportunity. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, in effect, mandated
37


companies to implement some procedural justice rules and said
everyone should receive equal treatment.
[I]t barred discrimination in public accommodations, such as
lunch counters, bus stations and hotels; it authorized the attorney
general to bring suit to desegregate schools, museums and other
public facilities; it outlawed discrimination in employment by
race, color, religion sex or national origin; and it gave additional
protection to voting rights. (Davidson, et al., 1990, p. 1171)
Distributive Tustice
Should resources be allocated equally, according to need or based
on what is deserved? The answer to this question seems partly to
depend on the resource type, and who is giving and getting the resource.
The method in which resources are allocated "may reflect 'either an
allocator's internalized goal' (for example, maximize own outcomes,
maximize joint outcomes, maximize own and other's outcomes in one's
own favor, maximize other's outcomes, and so forth) or a 'strategy to
alter the behavior of another'" (Cook and Messick, 1983, p. 4).
The employment market and how it operates involves principles
of distributive justice. Employment can be considered a universalistic
resource because it can increase the information people can access, the
amount of money they can make and the goods they can buy. And,
again, history as well as current trends show that minorities and women
38


earn less money and have less prestigious jobs when this resource is
allocated.
White men are 39.2 percent of the population, yet they comprise
82.5 percent of the Forbes 500 listing of individuals who are worth
at least $265 million apiece; white men hold 77 percent of the seats
in Congress, 92 percent of state governorships, 70 percent of
tenured college faculty slots, nearly 90 percent of daily newspaper
editorships, and 77 percent of TV news director jobs. Minority
groups are in fact advancing slowly. When the executive search
firm Korn Ferry prepared its ten-year survey of senior executives
in 1989, it found that blacks had gone from 0.2 percent to a mere
0.6 percent of top corporate jobs, Hispanic from 0.1 percent to 0.4
percent, and women executives from 0.5 percent to 3 percent.
(Rivers, 1996, p. 134)
Perhaps then its not surprising that white men on the average make
more money than women and minorities. (See table 2.3).
Table 2.3: Year-round full-time earnings for 19922
Race/Sex Earnings Earnings as a percentage of white men's2 3
White men $ 31,012 100.0
black men $ 22,369 72.1
Hispanic men $ 20,049 64.6

white women $ 21,659 69.8
black women $ 19,819 63.9
Hispanic women $ 17,138 55.3
Source: National Committee on Pay Equity (1993)
2 Data for Asian/Pacific Islanders and American Indians was not available.
3 It is important to note that not all white men are making more money than women and minorities.
Some women and minorities make more money than white men.
39


But how does one figure out equal distributions? People have differing
ideas about equality.
Some of the various equalities that are important are equality of
outcome, equality of outcome per unit (equity), equal excess or
equality of outcome above a minimum level, equality in psychic
profit from an exchange, procedural equality or equality in the
application of rules and procedures, equality of opportunity and
so on. The problem of finding fair arrangements is not one of
equality versus inequality but one of equality with regard to what.
(Messick and Sentis, 1983, p. 68)
Several factors affect people's evaluations of fair situations. People aren't
always satisfied, and they can perceive distributions to be unjust even
when they get their "fair" share. While it isn't always clear why different
groups feel different ways about the same system, it is obvious that
justice perceptions are based on some kind of comparison. Equity theory
and relative deprivation theory are both concerned with how and why
justice perceptions arise and are relevant in a discussion about
newsroom diversity.
Equity Theory: People believe situations are equitable if they
achieve the same outcomes, or distribution of resources, as someone
similar to them (Cook and Messick, 1983; Martin and Murray, 1983;
Tornblom, 1992; van den Bos, et al., 1997). The theory also suggests that
justice perceptions are influenced by expectations as well as
contributions. Equity theory is based on comparisons believed to be just
40


or fair (Cook and Messick, 1983). When inequitable situations arise,
people take steps to change them because inequity causes dissatisfaction
(Cook and Messick, 1983; Messick and Sentis, 1983; Tomblom, 1992);
hence, the two diverging perspectives in the example below:
a conservative rich man might take the position that his wealth is
deserved because of two of his input characteristics: a blue-
blooded family background and a diploma from one of the
appropriate Ivy League universities. A poor man, in Marxist
tradition, might decide that wealth should be distributed to each
person according to that person's need. This reduces the number
of relevant inputs to one: need. (Martin and Murray, 1983, p. 172)
Although two political spectrums fit into the above example,
equity theory is said to have "strongly conservative undertones" (Martin
and Murray, 1983, p. 173). Contributions are key factors in determining
fair distributions, but equity theory doesn't consider that some people
don't have the same opportunity to make certain inputs (Martin and
Murray, 1983). This is illustrated in the above example of the blue-blood
and the poor man. Obviously, the poor man wouldn't have access to an
Ivy League school unless he had outside help to get the resources to
cover the cost.
Equity theory is said to represent those who could gain the most
from the status quo. Historically, this has been whites in particular, but it
is especially true of white men (Davidson, et al., 1992). As part of the
41


status quo, individuals start to expect certain benefits because others like
them received similar benefits in the past. Justice perceptions also are
formed over time, and the "conception of equity is historically and
culturally determined" (Tornblom, 1992, p. 181). Research also shows
that people perceive situations to be fair or just when they receive what
they expect (Martin and Murray, 1983; Messick and Sentis, 1983). This is
partly why affirmative action backlash exists. White males aren't getting
what they expect.
"The comfort level that white males used to have about the
automatic getting of jobs is gone," says David Hawpe, 50 [at the
time he was quoted], the white editor of the Courier-Journal in
Louisville [Kentucky]. "Yes, there are fewer jobs for white males.
That is a fact. But where is it written that those jobs belong to
white men by divine birthright?" (Shepard, 1993, p. 20)
Relative Deprivation Theory: Like equity theory, relative
deprivation theory doesn't make clear distinctions between what is
expected and what is considered fair (Martin and Murray, 1983). But it
does explain how some people can believe that certain expectations are
considered unfair. For example, some black people who drive nice cars
have said that they expect to be hassled by police. Relative deprivation
theory is based on comparisons that people believe to be unfair. The
comparison might be thought of as unfair by the person involved or by
42


someone else observing the situation. Relative deprivation is based on
five criteria (Crosby, 1976; Cook and Messick, 1983):
someone possesses a resource;
another person wants it;
the person feels entitled to the resource;
the person believes (s)he can obtain the resource; and
the person doesn't blame him/herself for not having the
resource.
Relative deprivation theory is said to have conservative and liberal
undertones (Martin and Murray, 1983). In contrast to equity theory,
relative deprivation is only based on people's outcomes, or their
distribution or resources, rather than their contributions. There are two
types of relative deprivation (Crosby, 1976; Martin and Murray, 1983):
Egoistic deprivation is considered conservative and focuses on
individual behavior.
Fraternal deprivation is a more liberal theory; it focuses on
group behavior and has potential to change the status quo.
Let's consider minorities and whites, using the five criteria concerning
relative deprivation. In one case, whites might believe that minorities
have resources that they want and feel entitled to in this case, jobs in
newspaper journalism. Whites believe they can obtain the resource
under the right circumstances (perhaps, this would mean eliminating
43


affirmative action), and they blame others for not having certain
resources. The reverse example would also work when minorities
believe that whites have resources that the minorities feel entitled to,
etc. The differences between egoistic and fraternal deprivation are best
explained in table 2.4. From the table, we will see that egoistic
deprivation relates to individuals, and fraternal deprivation relates to
groups.
Early research in relative deprivation theory focused on
disadvantaged groups. For example, women and minorities in the past
could expect to be discriminated against, but they still believed their
treatment was unjust. Equity theory, on the other hand, would
determine that minorities and women's treatment in the past was just
because they might not have had the education or experience to compete
with white males for certain jobs. In other words, women and
minorities in the past might not have had the contributions necessary to
achieve the same outcomes as white males. Without noting the
historical and cultural contexts in which such instances can occur,
however, the above opinion could be considered as an example of
egocentric bias: the "tendency for individuals to take more credit for a
44


social or group product than other people would accord them" (Messick
and Sentis, 1983, p. 71).
Table 2.4: Key elements of the distinction between egoistic and fraternal
deprivation
EGOISTIC FRATERNAL
COMPARER "I," self "we," self's membership group
COMPARATIVE REFERENT usually individual usually group
CHARACTERISTICS OF REFERENT similar more prosperous, dissimilar
DISCONTENT unique to comparer potentially shared with others in membership group
BEHAVIOR usually individual usually collective
ALLEVIATION OF DISCONTENT WOULD BENEFIT self only whole membership group
Source: Martin and Murray (1983) p. 186
Whites and minorities can both believe they are fraternally
deprived. Each group might believe it is somehow disadvantaged, and
members of both groups might believe that others are given "credit" or
jobs that they don't deserve. Following the table 2.4, let's consider that
whites as a group are the comparers, and minorities are the referent
group in regard to affirmative action. The referents' (minorities')
characteristics are dissimilar to the comparers', and the comparers could
believe that the referent group (minorities) is more prosperous because
45


of affirmative action perks. The collective behavior of whites who are
affirmative action foes is to outwardly oppose it and to vote or support
measures against it. In the end, the elimination of set diversity policies
would benefit the comparers (whites).
Let's also consider the reverse. Minorities are the comparers, and
whites are the referents. Again, the referents' characteristics are
dissimilar to the comparers' (minorities), who also believe that the
referents (whites) are more prosperous than them. History provides
evidence of this, at least in regard to finances and opportunity. Most of
the comparer group members (minorities) would share the belief that
they lack finances and the opportunity to attain those finances, which
could lead to collective behavior, such as being outspoken about the
benefits of affirmative action and voting for measures to keep the policy
on the books.
Importance of Study
The Colorado Coalition on Race Relations in a March 1998 report
about race relations says that the representation of minorities in the
media is often negative. The coalition says the media often reinforces
stereotypes, which contributes to racial tension and misunderstanding.
46


Researchers the noted the following, in contrast to the Society of
Professional Journalist's belief that newspaper editors were improving
their portrayal of minorities in the news:
Local newspapers were cited by some as feeding racism [sic] media
promotes stereotypes by the way they decide which stories to
cover and which they neglect (e.g. a black woman having six kids
from one birth is local news, while a white woman having seven
in one birth is treated as a national event) [parentheses in quote]."
(Colorado Coalition, 1998, p. 21)
Media does not cover black on black, [or] Hispanic on Hispanic
types of crime; instead, [the] focus is on reporting crimes among
minorities and Anglos [sic] media does not report when police
officers are convicted unless the perception is that the police
officer gets preferential treatment. (Colorado Coalition, 1998, p. 21)
Pictures as presented through the media become internalized and
redefine our norms. (Colorado Coalition, 1998, p. 21)
Media representation of communities creates either positive or
negative images of how a community is perceived. (Colorado
Coalition, 1998, p. 42)
Media has a tendency to show negative housing situations and to
portray people in housing projects in a negative way. (Colorado
Coalition, 1998, p. 42)
Again, media representatives have said such incidents can be reduced if
more minorities are working on newspaper staffs. But this has yet to be
proven.
It is difficult to find middle ground on this issue. Some charge
that affirmative action creates more friction than it promotes
47


understanding, and others criticize the newspaper industry for not
changing fast enough. "In fact the ASNE calculate that nearly 46 percent
of the country's daily papers don't employ minorities at all" (Anfuso,
1995, p. 30), and the International Women's Media Foundation says men
are seven times more likely than women to reach the highest levels of
media management. Diversifying, however, is a double-edged sword.
Although many claim such practices are still very necessary, society is
becoming less tolerant of affirmative action policies, as illustrated in the
following quote.
The ideal of merit hiring has been subverted by politicized hiring
with white males unable to defend themselves against open
discrimination. But quotas bring other problems, including
conflict among the "protected classes" they benefit and growing
racial polarization, particularly as the articulate middle class
begins to suffer. (Brimelow, 1992, p. 76)
Such factors probably weren't considered in the newspaper industry's
zeal to diversify, but it is time for a thorough analysis of these concepts,
especially if gaps between minority and majority are widened rather
than bridged.
Findings of this research will be especially relevant to the field of
sociology in the area of justice theory (distributive and procedural).
Distributive justice says people determine what is fair by the amount of
resources they are rewarded. Procedural justice says people determine
48


what is fair by the way, or the method, in which they receive certain
resources. Affirmative action incorporates concepts of distributive and
procedural justice, and the Supreme Court, on more than one occasion,
has been asked to re-evaluate the policy. Some states have already
eliminated the policy for college admissions and state employment.
From this research, newspaper executives might have learned
how diversity initiatives have impacted their newspaper's operation.
The results might also be useful for mapping out plans for future hiring
and promotions. This is also believed to be important research, as noted
above, because of the media's ability to impact society. Who better to ask
about these trends than the people who work in the industry? It is
important to know how the people who report society's events view the
environment in which they work and whether they believe they are
allowed to report on different, or conflicting, views.
49


CHAPTER THREE
METHODOLOGY
Direction of Research
The goal in a discussion about newsroom diversity should be to
establish what relationships exist between diversity and its assumed
effects. The first objective should be to establish a definition of diversity.
The concept diversity could be broken down into parts. For example, D4
could represent source diversity or the increased number of minorities
on a newspaper staff, D2 could represent content diversity or the
representation of ideas, and so on depending on other areas that are to
be explored. The effects of diversity could be conceptualized as Ej, E2, E3
and so on. E3, for example, might represent an improved newspaper, E2
could represent improved communication, E3 could represent company
morale, E4 could represent employee retention and Es could represent
resentment. Researchers could then explore whether positive or
negative relationships exist between diversity and its supposed effects.
The following visual perspective of these relationships might be useful
in this analysis.
50


Dj <--------------------------------> Ej
D2 El
D----------------------------------E2
d2<---------------------------------> E2
d:<--------------------------------e3
D2<-------------------------------^E3
Dj D2 Dl<------------------------------->e5
d2<-------------------------------^E5
Researchers also should look to see whether nonspurious relationships
exist between diversity and its supposed effects. A nonspurious
relationship exists when a third variable can't explain away the
relationship between two other variables. In other words, using the first
of the ten equations above, researchers would have to assure that if a
relationship did exist between diversity and an improved newspaper,
they would also need to know whether the finding of an improved
newspaper couldn't be attributed to some other factor. Another
relationships that might be explored is how diversity relates to fairness.
In other words, is it fair to implement affirmative action policies?
51


Field research and surveys are both appropriate research designs,
given the multitude of opinions that might emerge about diversity,
affirmative action and justice perceptions. "Interpretivism [a type of
field research] aims at discovering how the subject of study understands
his or her life" (Babbie, 1998, p. 281). Field research also "is well suited to
the study of social processes over time" (Babbie, 1998, p. 283). This
method will aid understanding about justice perceptions since they are
also formed over time (Lowe and Vodanovich, 1995; Martin and
Murray, 1983; Messick and Sentis, 1983; Tomblom, 1992). Field research
yields high validity4 and allows the researcher to directly observe and
interact with the study subjects; however, it yields low reliability5 and its
findings are difficult to generalize to large populations. Questionnaires,
on the other hand, yield high reliability because they can reach large
populations. The protocol for this research was to include a
questionnaire and interviews (see protocol, Appendix B). The research
could not be completed, but the following methodology could be
employed.
4 validity describes the accuracy of the variable's measurement. "For example, your IQ would seem a
more valid measure of your intelligence than would the number of hours you spend in the library"
(Babbie, 1998, p. G7).
5 reliability suggests that the same type of data could be collected each time the study was conducted.
52


Sample
Participants could be asked to complete a questionnaire, similar to
the one in Appendix B, which was designed to gain an understanding of
diversity and its influence at each newspaper as well as the respondents'
perceptions of justice and their opinions about their newspaper's
procedures. Participants should be asked to sign consent forms, which
include letters that explained the study's methods and purpose. The
subjects of study were to be reporters, photographers and editors who are
employed at large daily newspapers. If the study were to be conducted in
Colorado, the Denver Rocky Mountain News or The Denver Post,
which are the largest daily newspapers in Colorado, should be asked to
participate. Both rated among the top 50 newspapers in the United States
in 1993 because they had high representations of minorities on their
staffs (Shepard, 1993). This is consistent with the finding that most
minorities work at newspapers with circulations of 100,000 or more
(ASNE, 1997; Shepard, 1993). The News, which is delivered to 13
counties within close proximity of the metro Denver area, and the Post,
which is delivered statewide, both have circulations of more than
325,000 subscribers. Other newspapers in the state might not have
53


audiences as diverse as the News and the Post and might not have
diversity initiatives in place.
Procedure
Respondents should receive numbered questionnaires, along
with instructions, a consent form and an explanatory letter in a sealed
envelope. People who were interested in being interviewed could call
the researcher or send a pre-paid postcard, noting a phone number
where they could be reached and a time that they were available.
Completed questionnaires, along with the consent forms, could be
returned to the researcher via a pre-paid addressed envelope. Purposive
sampling might then be used to pick 30 to 40 people of varying ethnic
backgrounds, genders and job titles for in-depth interviews.
Subjects should be allowed to do their interviews at the location
of their choice, be it a coffee shop or a company conference room.
According to Babbie (1998), interviewees are likely to feel more
comfortable and, therefore, more truthful when they are in a familiar
setting. The interviews might last 60 to 90 minutes, and data could be
obtained by note-taking and recording interviews on tape. Subjects
54


should not be identified by name, and tapes of the interviews should be
stored with the researcher.
Terminology
The phrase racial preference and affirmative action should not be used
interchangeably in this analysis. Each phrase draws different emotional
responses (Harris, 1992). Affirmative action in this study refers to the
federal policy. The definitions provided by Voakes et al. might be used
in the context of diversity. "Source diversity is a dispersion of the
representations of affiliations and status positions of sources used to
create a news product" (Voakes et al., 1996, p. 584). Source diversity
relates to the number of people from underrepresented groups in the
industry as well as those used to provide facts for the stories. Source
diversity is believed to help the newspaper to reflect its multicultural
audience. Content diversity, on the other hand, is the "representation of
ideas, perspectives, attributions, opinions or frames within a news
product and in the context of one particular issue" (Voakes, et al., 1996,
p. 585). Having content diversity means that alternative, even dissident,
ideas are represented in the paper.
55


Research Questions
Questionnaires might be modeled after a 1996 study by MORI
Research (see Instrument in Appendix B). Questions 1-4, 19, 20, 23 and 24
focus on the respondents' views about opportunities for hiring and
promotions. The questions are to get understanding about the impact of
resource types on justice perceptions. Distributive justice and procedural
justice are factors in the above questions. For example, employment
might translate into more money. Recall from a previous section that
the amount of a universalistic resource (in this case, money) is more
important than how the resource is given. Employment also includes
principles of procedural justice since with some jobs come higher levels
of prestige, which can be considered a type of particularistic resource.
And, as discussed in a previous section, the way particularistic resources
are given is more important than an amount of that resource.
Questions 3-5 also focus on procedural rules and ask about
perceptions of equal treatment. Questions 6-10 ask participants about
their views on hiring criteria and whether they believe they are
respected by their colleagues. Questions 11-18 were to uncover views
about diversity and the newspapers' handling of race-related issues.
Questions 23-25 were to show what the subjects believe about their
56


individual career success. Questions 26 and 27, respectively, ask
participants what satisfies them most about their jobs and asks about
future plans.
In the interview sessions, subjects were to be asked questions
about their participation on diversity committees, what they've learned
from the committees and how the committees have impacted the
newspaper's operation. In regard to the distribution of resources, in this
case jobs and/or promotions, participants will be asked the following:
What reward levels would you expect?
What reward levels would you be satisfied with?
What reward levels would you find perfectly just and fair?
Using these three items to measure justice perceptions is believed to
yield very different responses (Martin and Murray, 1983). The object was
to gather enough data to establish what relationships exist between
diversity and its assumed effects.
57


CHAPTER FOUR
RESULTS
Newspapers Decline Participation
Editors at the Denver Rocky Mountain News and The Denver
Post received proposals, which conformed to guidelines of the
University of Colorado Denver's Human Subjects Research Committee
(see Appendix B). The proposal includes an abstract of the study's
purpose and method, a protocol, a consent form and a questionnaire
that was to be used to collect data for the study. The protocol explains the
specifics of the study. It includes a detailed explanation about the
purpose of the research; a description of the subjects to be involved; an
overview of the methodology and data disposition; potential benefits
and risks of the study; precautions to minimize risks and a description of
the method to obtain informed consent. The proposal was reviewed and
approved by a faculty advisor, who is to assure that each of the following
conditions were met:
Research design is clear and appropriate to the discipline.
58


Subject selection is fair, and subjects are informed as to how
they were selected.
Recruitment procedures help ensure that subject participation
is voluntary.
Voluntary participation is explicitly assured.
Informed consent procedures are appropriate to subjects.
Protection of privacy and/or confidentiality is adequate.
Potential risks (psychological, social, physical, economic, legal)
are identified and mitigated.
Benefits of research outweigh risks.
Consent form/statement and copies or complete description of
research instruments are attached.
Human Subjects Protocol is completed fully and correctly.
Executives from both newspapers, however, declined to participate in
the study. The rest of this work, although speculative, details the
method in which the newspapers were contacted and deals with the
climate in which the Denver newspapers operate.
59


CHAPTER FIVE
DISCUSSION
Denver Rocky Mountain News
The News was contacted by phone about the study in December
1997, the same day that the newspaper ran a story about the increase of
the minority population in the metro Denver area. I contacted an editor
to explain the purpose and description of the study. The editor then
asked if I wanted to talk to a lot of minorities. When I said yes, the editor
said that the News didn't generally participate in questionnaires and that
he was very busy. I then decided to wait on mailing the proposal because
of the holiday season. I didn't want my proposal to get lost in the shuffle.
I contacted one of the editorial department's representatives of the
News Diversity Task Force in January 1998. The task force consists of
employees in the newspaper's editorial, advertising, circulation and
human resources departments. The News prominently displays in its
lobby a poster, which has articles about different cultures and photos of
the task force members, who are of various ethnic backgrounds. A paper
60


placard on the poster says that the task force's mission is "to bring about
awareness that results in respect and strength from diverse cultures and
backgrounds and to promote teamwork and diversity in the workplace,
in the product and in the community." Other plaques in the building say
that the mission is "to create an environment that enables our
coworkers to excel."
The representative of the task force expressed interest in doing the
study after reviewing the questionnaire and proposal. The person was
prepared to make copies of the questionnaire and distribute them right
then. I explained that the proposal was still under review by the
university, and I was just gauging interest. The person also
acknowledged that the newspaper's protocol was to run such projects
through the editor. The person added, however, that the editor might
decline to participate because competition between the News and the
Post was fierce, and both would be concerned about bad publicity as well
as negative perceptions about their papers. The person said I should call
back in a couple of days. When I did, the person said Robert Burdick,
then the News' senior vice president and editor, did not want to
participate because Burdick was concerned about privacy issues. The
person said I should address those concerns and contact Burdick myself.
61


I mailed a revised proposal in April to Burdick and asked him to
reconsider his decision, pointing out that I'd outlined additional steps to
protect the identities of potential participants of the study. The timing
was also relevant as the News had done extensive coverage leading up
to and during the Denver meeting of the President's Initiative of Race in
March 1998. The Denver meetings were punctuated by protests of
American Indians who were angry that the Initiative's advisory board
didn't have an American Indian representative. The News later wrote
an editorial, titled "The Disgrace of Denver," condemning the American
Indians' actions. The News described the leader of the protest, an
American Indian who is also a professor at the University of Colorado at
Denver, and his followers as "A bunch of intolerant thugs
masquerading as aggrieved victims [who] refused to allow other people
in Denver to exercise their rights" (Denver Rocky Mountain News,
1998a, p. 39A).
Prior to the meetings, the News did a weeklong series, called
"Race and Reality," which included narratives from present and former
employees of the News about their experiences with prejudice and
racism. The series concluded with a special Sunday section about race
relations in Denver. The special section included stories about the state's
62


racial make-up, stories comparing the incomes of minorities and whites,
stories about incidents of racism, stories about neighborhood
integration, stories about interracial marriages, stories about race as a
biological concept. One article was titled "Steps Forward, Steps Back;
Denver Makes Strides Toward Equality, but New Challenges Arise, Old
Problems Remain" (Kelly and Hubbard, 1998, p. 2R). Reading such
articles, I believed the News might be interested to know how its own
employees felt about diversity and race relations among the staff
members. I was mistaken. I received a letter from Burdick, declining to
do the study. The following is the exact text of the letter, which is dated
April 22,1998. The letter was also forwarded to the person I spoke to on
the diversity task force.
Thank you for writing. However, as [the representative] told you,
we will be unable to participate in the project. We cannot check
the background and details of every such request, and
consequently, we do not participate in any. We appreciate your
concern for our co-workers; but I assure you that each has the
right to speak up and out (and many do so) without newsroom
surveys, whatever the source. We wish you the best in your
studies. Sincerely, Robert W. Burdick.
63


The Denver Post
I contacted an editor at The Denver Post in March 1998 to gauge
interest. The editor said she'd be extremely busy in the upcoming
months because the Post was traveling around the state for its
"Snapshots of Colorado" scries to get direction on what people wanted
to read in the newspaper. She then asked me if I was looking for a
specific number of minority employees for the study. "We don't usually
give those numbers out/' she said. I then told her I was looking for a
random sample of the employees in the newspaper's editorial
department, and she said she'd get back to me. I mailed the proposal in
April 1998.
The Post editor called me later with questions about how the
questionnaires would be distributed. She didn't decline to do the study,
but she expressed reservations. She said she didn't know if she could
find enough people to participate in the study because it was a busy time
for the newspaper.
"At this point, I would say I don't think we're going to be able to
help you much with this," she said in a phone conversation April
19. "If I could figure out something that I think would work, I'll
do it. But I have some real doubts about being able to provide you
with what I know you're going to need to have a viable thesis. So
I'm sorry to have to tell you that, but I just don't know how to
make it so it's going to work for you. Like I said, if I can come up
64


with anything, I will, but I just don't know where it's going to be
at this point. If you think of something, you call me. Believe me,
it's not that I don't want to help. It's just that I don't want to get
you so far down the road that you end up with a mess on your
hands and not enough people to complete it."
I later contacted the Post editor and said I didn't expect her to find people
for me and that I would leave one numbered copy of the questionnaire
in each of the employees' mailboxes in the newsroom. Those who
wanted to participate could, and those who didn't want to participate
wouldn't have to. People could sign a card or call me if they wanted to
do an interview. The editor, however, declined to participate in a letter,
which is dated May 28,1998.
Thank you for your recent letter about the surveys for a research
study. I am sympathetic to your situation, but I do not wish to
include The Denver Post newsroom in such research at this time.
I would suggest that you try a newspaper such as the Colorado
Springs Gazette or the Fort Collins Coloradoan. Understand that I
wish you all the best, but it simply is an inopportune time to be
doing this at The Denver Post. Sincerely, Jeanette M. Chavez.
The Spiral of Silence in Motion
One can only speculate about why the editors at the News and the
Post declined to participate in this study, but the newspaper war sheds
some light on why the editors might have decided against taking part in
this work. A representative on the News' diversity task force predicted
65


that executives at his paper might not want to participate because of
competition between the News and the Post. The fear of isolation6 sets
the spiral of silence in motion (Noelle-Neumann, 1984), and isolation
would mean the demise of a newspaper. Other authors (Barringer, 1998;
Fitzgerald, 1998; Solomon, 1998) find that some newspapers also suffer
from "diversity fatigue;" in other words, newspaper executives are tired
of talking about it.
It is hard to believe that executives at the Post and the News were
worried about their employees expressing too many positive comments.
Bad publicity is probably a concern for both papers as each fights daily for
potential subscribers, and each paper gets plenty of knocks from other
newspapers in town. Admittedly, some of the issues to be discussed in
this study hiring, promotions and affirmative action are hot-
button topics. It is, therefore, not naive to say that News' and the Post's
executives might have been anxious about what their employees might
divulge and how those disclosures might have been interpreted even
if that information might have been to the benefit of the respective
papers. We can only guess that the potential costs of this study
outweighed any benefits that the papers believed they could attain.
6 The fear of isolation is the belief that people will disapprove of one's opinions. This concept will be
66


Robert Burdick of the News said he did not want to participate
because he "cannot check the background and details of every such
request [to do newsroom studies]/' but Burdick, as per the CU-Denver
Human Subjects Research Committee, was provided detailed
information about the purpose and protocol for the study (see Appendix
B). Jeanette Chavez of the Post said she would not participate because "it
simply [was] an inopportune time ... Interestingly, Chavez notified me
of her decision, in the form of written correspondence, seven days after
another Denver newspaper came out with an article that ridiculed the
Post's "Snapshots of Colorado" series and the low turnout of people to
one of its town meetings.
Westword
The "Snapshots of Colorado" series was one of the Post's efforts to
understand what its readers wanted to read. Editors and reporters from
the Post availed themselves to town meetings to field and ask questions
of the public. In an effort to understand what was happening at those
meetings, Ward Harkavy, then Westword's associate editor, went
further explained in an upcoming section.
67


undercover to a May 1998 town meeting in Colorado Springs. Harkavy
disguised himself as "Martin L. Roberts, a management consultant who
was home-schooling his children, the oldest of whom Ezekiel (we call
him 'Zeke') was 13 and wanted to be a journalist but thought the Post
was too liberal while [Harkavy] liked the Post" (Harkavy, 1998, p. 17).
Harkavy went on to say that "fewer than 10 people had shown up! Out
of a city of 300,000" (p. 17)! He also had his picture taken with editors and
reporters from the Post who posed in front of Harkavy's hand-made
signs, which said "Keep up the work, Post1." and "I get my news from the
Post!" Harkavy even got one reporter to autograph a copy of the Post for
his fictitious son, Zeke. Harkavy basically made fools of them and
proclaimed that he'd "diddled The Denver Post. ... [T]here was no
affection. Just diddling. Find 'em, fool 'em and forget 'em" (Harkavy,
1998, p. 17).
Both the News and the Post are subject to such taunts almost
weekly in Westword, the most popular weekly alternative newspaper in
the metro-Denver area with a circulation of 120,000. Alternative
newspapers, born in the 1800s and revived in the 1960s, "felt that the
mainstream press was avoiding important issues" (Biagi, 1996, p. 62).
Westword, as a result, pursues stories that the mainstream papers don't
68


have the time or inclination to do, and Westword prides itself by poking
fun at Denver's daily newspapers. Westword writes about the Post's and
the News' missteps and their staffers' foibles. Westword published
stories about a reporter at the Post who was arrested and subsequently
pleaded guilty to having sex with a 14-year-old girl he'd met in an
Internet chat room. It also reported the arrests of a columnist at the Post
for driving while intoxicated (Westword, 1998c) and a columnist at the
News who'd been accused of domestic violence by his ex-wife. In one
article, Patricia Calhoun, the editor of Westword, wrote about an
employee at the News who was demoted for plagiarism and was later
fired for a writing a parody of a column by one of the News' columnists
(Calhoun, 1997). Calhoun, in that same article, also disclosed a plan by
the News to "spy on its staffers through their computer files" (Calhoun,
1997) although the Denver Newspaper Guild/ a union that represents
workers in the newspaper industry, ultimately foiled that plan.
All of the following items about Denver's daily newspapers
appeared in Westword's "Off Limits" section, a collection of briefs about
everything from political figures to business dealings:
Westword reported on The Denver Post's plan to use a seating
chart for daily meetings (Westword, 1998a) and the News' new
accuracy policy, which Westword said "is unlikely to stop such
69


colossal miscues as the April 10 [1998] headline that appeared
during one of the most sacred Jewish holidays: 'Rabbi sees
Passover spirit in oven'" (Westword, 1998b).
Westword also questioned The Denver Post's coverage of the
arrest of one its reporters in connection with a sex crime.
Westword said the story had "been largely ignored ... Though
Westword and [Denver television station KCNC] Channel 4 have
run stories on the reporter's arrest and the Rocky Mountain
News printed a full-length story after [the reporter's] guilty plea
the Post's coverage has consisted of a two-paragraph blurb at the
bottom of [a] Metro Digest... (Westword, 1998c).
Two weeks later, Westword (1998d) reported that the story of the
Post's reporter had gone national with Editor & Publisher, a well-
known journalism trade publication also wondering why the Post
buried the story. Westword also ridiculed a News columnist who
Westword said got his ideas from a bartender at the Denver Press
Club, a bar frequented by staffers from area newspapers. "Maybe
he was embarrassed about the fact that the column was the second
one he's written in the past few months about the trials and
tribulations of a Press Club booze-slinger .... At least [the
columnist] didn't confuse his bartender with an inanimate object,
the way he did in a recent column about witnessing a traffic
accident firsthand. In that unforgettable opus, [the columnist] told
readers about the horror of seeing a woman go flying through the
windshield of her minivan only to report a few days later that,
in fact, it was a car door that he'd seen rocketing though the
night" (Westword, 1998d).
Westword also questioned both newspapers' interpretations of
circulation figures, which are key in determining which of the
two is winning Denver's newspaper war. Westword reported that
an executive at the Post, who also owned newspapers in
California, had been taken to court for overstating circulation
figures there (Westword, 1998e). Two months later, Westword
focused on the Denver papers and said each "carried the
predictable creative-writing exercises describing the latest
circulation figures. The Denver Post focused on its ten-year
70


growth pattern; the Rocky Mountain News touted a recent growth
spurt that was seven times that of the Post" (Westword, 1998f).
Westword, the following week, derided the News' decision to
change its name to the Denver Rocky Mountain News. The News
said it wanted to add "Denver" to its name to reflect that it was
Denver's paper, considering the latest circulation numbers. But
Westword also said the newspaper also showed "its general
stinginess to employees. A day later, the News proved it could
have its cake and eat it, too, when members of the Denver
Newspaper Guild, which represents editorial and circulation
employees, among others, approved a three-year News contract
that raises wages 2 percent the first raise workers at this paper ...
have seen in two years" (Westword, 1998g).
Westword also reported that the Post's publisher had donated
$500 to Republican Gov.-elect Bill Owens' campaign, which
Westword speculated had influenced the Post's decision to
endorse Owens for governor (Westword, 1998g). That move
shocked many of the Post's readers, who believed that the Post
was traditionally more liberal than the News, including outgoing
Gov. Roy Romer, a Democrat, who wrote a letter to the editor in
the Oct. 31, 1998, edition of the Post, questioning that
endorsement.
Even when Westword complimented the News on its coverage of
the November elections, Westword took a stab at the News for its
coverage of a new shopping center in downtown Denver. "The
Denver Rocky Mountain News (soon to be renamed the 'Denver
Pavilions Rocky Mountain News,' judging from the coverage
given the second coming of retail to downtown) won the election-
night battle of the presses, with a November 4 [1998] paper
announcing that 'Owens wins at wire' while the Post was still
headlining a 'neck-and-neck' race. But the News' efforts would
have been more laudatory had the paper updated its Web site ... "
(Westword, 1998h).
But Westword isn't the only one that takes digs at the dailies. The
News and the Post also stab at each other. The most diplomatic jeers are
71


contained within stories about awards that each newspaper receives and
stories about gains in circulation, subscribers or new business
partnerships. In March 1997, the Post and the News traded punches
about the other's interpretation and reporting on circulation numbers.
The Post ran an article on March 1, 1997, saying that the News revised its
report to correct 495 reporting errors that included overstating some
county circulation figures by 30 percent (Meyers, 1997). The News (1997)
counterattacked the following day with an article accusing the Post of
also overstating its numbers. The Audit Bureau of Circulations ended
up scolding both newspapers for the articles (Prendergast, 1997b).
Considering compliments, the News praised its staff members for
honors in writing and photography in a May 1998 article but also
pointed out that it won more awards than the Post.
The News won 39 awards, including 15 for first place in the 1997
contest for the stories for the state's other newspapers with
circulations exceeding 100,000. The Denver Post finished second
with 35 awards, including 10 first prizes. The results give the
News a sweep of the state's major journalism competitions this
year. Earlier the News won the general excellence award in both
the Colorado Associated Press and Colorado Press Association
Contests. (Denver Rocky Mountain News, 1998b, p. 7A)
The News now boasts daily on its front page that is has won the "Most
awards in Colorado for the fourth straight year."
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The Fear of Isolation
Public opinion becomes increasingly important as the Denver
newspapers posture for the top spot in the city's newspaper war. Noelle-
Neumann (1984) says the "spiral of silence is a reaction to openly visible
approval and disapproval among shifting constellations of values" (p.
64). Noelle-Neumann also says that public opinion acts as a social skin
and that the social nature of human beings is to seek acceptance. To be
disliked, in today's society, is the equivalent of being a leper, and few
actively seek to be perceived as such, she says. The fear of isolation
concept is especially relevant in the news industry. The industry
requires its workers to be in tune with public opinion and to have the
public praise them. Reporters and columnists want to have a loyal
following; it is a measure of the writers', as well as the newspaper's,
success. Positive public opinion also can mean an increase in circulation
numbers, and as a newspaper touts its success, more people could jump
on the bandwagon. Other researchers write that "bandwagon effects
occur when people begin to favor what they perceive to be the winning
side of an issue in order to benefit from the social rewards of aligning
oneself with a victor" (Eveland, McLeod and Signorielli, 1995, p. 93).
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Still, it is difficult to determine how much impact negative
articles in Westword might have on daily newspapers' subscribers. We'd
first have to know how many people would or did cancel their
subscriptions after learning that one of the newspapers employed an
accused wife-beater; that another newspaper once employed a man who
pleaded guilty to having sex with a minor (that reporter ultimately
resigned and was sentenced to 90 days in jail and probation). We'd also
have to know whether subscribers believed either newspaper was
insensitive to different social groups and whether subscribers thought it
unethical that a newspaper executive, who can determine what stories
are published, donated money to a political campaign and whether that
contribution influenced the paper's coverage of that political issue.
Another reason the Denver newspaper executives might have
declined to take part in this work is that they might have feared that
their words would be used against them. Journalists usually aid the
formation of public opinion by what is and isn't in the paper. For the
sake of a "good story," news writers sometimes leave out what others
might consider to be pertinent information. In other words, reporters
and editors sometimes put their own spins on an issue, despite the
perception that news stories are to be objective and free of bias. This,
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according to Noelle-Neumann, is why people often feel helpless when
they are chosen as subjects for stories produced by the media.
This powerlessness is expressed in two ways. This first occurs
when a person tries to gain public attention ... and the media, in
their selection process, choose not to give that person attention.
The same thing occurs if there are unsuccessful efforts to gain
public attention for an idea, a piece of information or a
perspective. ... The second aspect of this powerlessness comes into
play when the media are used as a pillory; when they draw
faceless public attention to an individual who is surrendered to
them as a scapegoat to be "exhibited." [The person] cannot defend
himself [or herself]; [the person] cannot deflect the slings and
arrows. The means of rebuttal are grotesque in their comparative
weakness, in their awkwardness compared to the polished
objectivity of the media. (Noelle-Neumann, 1984, p. 155)
Knowing this, perhaps it isn't surprising that the Denver newspaper
executives might be more cautious than average individuals would be
in offering themselves as subjects in a study. Noelle-Neumann says
those who submit to the media's wiles without understanding how the
media work are "putting their heads into the jaws of a tiger" (p. 155).
Something happens when words are put in print, even when those
words could be wrong or there is more to the story. Newspaper
executives know this. The Denver newspaper executives' denial to do
this study is a type of damage control. They don't want potential flaws to
be revealed. It might mean a loss of subscribers.
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The Denver Newspaper War
Media watchers have been predicting the demise of one of the
Denver newspapers for more than a decade. The Denver Rocky
Mountain News and The Denver Post have been duking it out for at
least 100 years, and each newspaper has enjoyed the lead at one time or
another. At present, however, the Post and the News appear to be
running neck and neck. According to figures filed with the Audit
Bureau of Circulations, a company that monitors circulation numbers,
from March to September 1998, the News' daily circulation was 331,978
and its Sunday circulation was 432,931; the Post's daily circulation was
341,554 and its Sunday circulation was 484,657. The numbers above show
that the Post leads the News by about 9,500 in daily sales and about 50,000
in Sunday sales, but the News interpreted the numbers as a victory. The
News boasted in an October 1998 article that it had increased its daily
circulation seven times faster than its competitor because the News had
gained 29,025 daily, while the Post only added 4,182 (Denver Rocky
Mountain News, 1998c). The News also improved its Sunday circulation
numbers from the previous year. "'Clearly, this is a testament that we
dominate the Front Range/ publisher Larry Strutton said. 'The numbers
underscore the success of our Front Range Plus plan in which we
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provide service to reader in the areas of advertisers need'" (Denver
Rocky Mountain News, 1998c).
The delivery areas differ for each paper. The Post is available all
over Colorado, as well as parts of Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Kansas
and Nebraska; the News only delivers to 13 counties in the state. The
News decided to pull back deliveries from the rest of the state in spring
1996, a tactic referred to as the Front Range Plus plan. Media pundits
were sure that the News would soon fold after this move; the Post's
circulation quickly surged ahead by picking up the subscribers that the
News had dropped. The News' retreat from the rest of the state was seen
as a sign of financial instability. Indeed, finances were part of the News'
decision to pull back. Linda Sease, the News' marketing and public
relations vice president, said the paper was losing money by delivering
papers to people outside of the metro Denver area; the News was paying
$35 to print and deliver the papers to people outside of metro Denver,
while those subscribers paid only $4.75 per month for the paper
(Prendergast, 1997b). One of the top executives said "dumping statewide
circulation would save his operation approximately $10 million per
year" (Prendergast, 1997b, p. 8). The executives at the News then
surmised that people who lived in the state's outskirts didn't spend
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much money in Denver business establishments, which provide the
bulk of the advertising dollars for both papers (Prendergast, 1997b, p. 5).
Prendergast (1997b) explains the News' decision to pull back its
circulation this way "Slamming the door on readers outside the Front
Range was simply an acknowledgment of one of the cold facts of the
newspaper business: Readers are only important to the extent that they
can attract advertising, the primary revenue stream" (p. 5). The Denver
Post now might be in the same position as the News once was, losing
money by delivering to far off places, but the Post might be unable to
drop those subscribers because the race for the top is too close.
Subscriber rates contribute little to newspapers' total revenue.
Advertising takes up 66 to 70 percent of most newspapers (Biagi, 1996),
and advertisers pay hundreds to thousands of dollars for space in the
newspaper. In the early 1990s, people used to talk of the day when the
Internet and online news services would take over newspapers. The
same discussions occurred years ago when televisions became more
affordable, but newspapers are still a favorite because advertisers can
reach large, diverse groups of people. Still, the advertisements in the
Post and the News don't really depict diversity, aside from occasional
pictures of models who are minorities (Most of the models in
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department store ads, for example, are white.). The ads are targeted
toward middle class homeowners and businesses. Both the Post and the
News feature prominent two- to six-page spreads from grocery stores;
department stores, such as Dillard's and Foley's; furniture stores, such as
American Furniture Warehouse, Bedroom Expressions and Oak
Express; and from liquor warehouses. The rest of the ads, spread out
over the business, sports, lifestyles and entertainment sections hawk
home improvement services; cheap airfares; beauty salons, products and
services; Internet providers and phone services; office supplies; sporting
goods and strip bars.
Denver is one of few cities with two independent competing daily
newspapers. Other cities that have been able to sustain independent
operations are major metropolitans, such as Los Angeles, Washington
DC, New York, Chicago, Miami, Boston and Pittsburgh (see Separate
Ownership, Appendix C). Newspapers in other cities work under Joint
Operating Agreements, or JOAs (see Joint Operating Agreements,
Appendix C), or they are managed by the same owner (see Common
Ownership, Appendix C). JOAs created alliances in multi-newspaper
cities when executives found that the market could not support two
independent operations. Newspapers under a JOA share most resources,
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such as advertising and marketing strategies, but have different editorial
policies so they can reach different members of the community and
stand out from each other.
In Denver, Scripps Howard, once referred to as a "Fortune 500
behemoth" by a former editor at the Post, owns the Denver Rocky
Mountain News; Media News Group owns The Denver Post. As part of
the Scripps Howard chain, the News has solid financial backing, which
might have helped the News' saturation of the Denver market and
contribute to its ability to reinvent itself. For example, the News in 1998
paid $500,000, beating out the Post to be the official sponsor of Jefferson
County schools, the largest school district in Colorado. This sponsorship
gives the News the right to advertise in the district's stadiums and
gymnasiums, to make special deals with the parents and students in the
district and to participate in school fundraising projects. As part of the
deal, the News also said it would provide speakers for high school
graduation ceremonies, as well as mentors for the district's student
reporters and critiques of school newspapers (Steers, 1998). The News
also has sponsorships or owns part of the Colorado Rockies, a
professional baseball team; Colorado's Ocean Journey, a marine park in
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downtown Denver; and Elitch Gardens, a local amusement park that
recently joined the Six Flags theme park corporation.
The News from 1997 to 1999 also added or expanded several
sections in its paper. The sports department has special sections
dedicated to the Denver Broncos, high school sports, motor sports and
baseball. The business department has "Mile High Tech," a section
focusing on the latest developments in technology; "Careers," which
contains tips on how to land jobs and stories about companies that are
hiring; and "Wall Street West," which has stories about investing,
Colorado companies and other business leaders. The lifestyles and
entertainment department redesigned its "Weekend" section, which
contains reviews of movies, restaurants and plays. The lifestyles
department debuted a section on fashion coverage, called "Mile High
Style," and it added "Home Front," which has "remodeling and interior
design tips and begging for ads from developers and home-furnishing
stores" (Prendergast, 1997d, p. 5).
The sections not only give more options to advertisers, but they
are also an attempt to attract and keep new subscribers. Readership
studies show that teen-agers and women are less likely to read
newspapers than are men, which is why several newspapers now offer
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sections that are supposed to appeal to women and youth. The News
and the Post also carry weekly children's pages with the hope that the
children will grow up to be future subscribers or at least encourage their
parents to buy the paper. The Post over the last few years hasn't done
much in redesigns, except for its weekend entertainment section, which
was renamed "The Scene." The Post only dedicates certain pages in
different sections to keep up with the News. One standout is the Post's
"Focus" page, a weekly feature in its sports section that focuses on
female athletes, which hit stands in 1996.
Morale at the Post has plummeted since the introduction of
Dennis Britton, the Post's editor in chief, in early 1996. Britton, who has
worked at the Chicago Sun-Times and the Los Angeles Times, replaced
Neil Westergaard, a popular editor who was said to have good
relationships with the staff (Prendergast, 1997c). Britton's strategy for the
Post was to focus on more positive stories; Britton believed people in
Colorado wanted more news about how great it was to live in the state,
and less about violence, death and mayhem. In one case, when mayhem

did occur, the Post mentioned it as an afterthought, which gave the
impression that the newspaper was behind the times.
The Post has had a few clunkers in its quest for happy news, such
as a front-page story about a party at McNichols Arena [in March
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1997] to reward middle-school students for regular attendance and
good grades. The celebration ended in brawls in the parking lot
involving up to 200 youths, a detail that was buried deep in the
Post's story. The News skipped the congratulations and covered
the ruckus (A fuller account of the fights ran in the Post the
following day.). (Prendergast, 1997c, p. 6).
One of the tenets of journalism is to get as much of a story out as soon as
possible, but the Post didn't do that. Britton later conceded that the Post
missed that story.
The Post also fell behind with its coverage of the November 1998
elections. Not only did the News beat the Post on Nov. 4, the day after
the elections, by announcing that Bill Owens had been elected governor
(The Post reported that the governor's race hadn't been decided as the
newspaper went to press.), but the News also reported results for areas
that were outside of its circulation area. The News had county-by-county
results for the state's many ballot issues and major races, analysis articles
about the impact of the turnouts, and it included results of congressional
races for all 50 states. The Post came out with a more detailed issue about
the elections in its Nov. 5, 1998, issue, but the News also followed-up
with more on the impacts of the elections and the plans of elected
officials.
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Britton is now the butt of jokes. Some of his critics have even
created a Web page, the "Dennis Britton GoHome Page"
(http://members.aol.com/empirvoic/dennispage.html) where current
and former colleagues jeer Britton for what they call his lapses in
journalism judgment.7 The Web page has a clock that counts the days
until Britton leaves the Post (His contract expires some time in 1999.),
and it has an area called "The Dennis Britton Roll Call of
Embarrassments," which pokes fun at Britton for almost running a story
about an award he'd won from what turned out to be a nonexistent
group and which also questions the editor's ethics. The Web page says
Britton suggested that reporters offer bribes to get information from
hotel staffers serving world leaders in Denver for the Summit of the
Eight in 1997, and it speaks of Britton smuggling a camera into an
exclusive reception where cameras weren't allowed. Britton was caught
and almost lost the Post's press credentials, which would have banned
staff members from covering upcoming summit meetings.
Britton, however, isn't the only one attracting attention for
questionable decisions. Post publisher Gerald Grilly, hired in late 1998, is
7 It should be noted, however, that one person posted a message on the Britton GoHome page that said
life at the News wasn't always peaches and cream and that the News could also provide plenty of
material for a hate page.
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alleged to have pulled a story about an influential banking firm,
Coldwell Banker Moore, when the company threatened to take away
advertising and give it to the competition. A representative of Coldwell
made the same offer to the News, but the News opted to run the story.
That the Post didn't run the story and that Grilly, according to one
insider, called his contacts at Coldwell to ask for 100 percent of its
advertising raised questions about the newspaper's management and
practices. Others said that the paper resorted to such desperate measures
was a sign that the end was near. Dean Singleton, an executive of Media
News Group, which owns the Post, is said to have "a reputation of
extracting the last drop of profit from an operation and then closing up
shop" (Prendergast, 1997c, p. 2). If the newspaper were working toward
shutting its doors or revising policy, executives might have been
reluctant to take part in the study for fear that their strategies might be
revealed.
Diversity Fatigue
With the emphasis on circulation numbers, saving face and
appeasing advertisers, perhaps diversity has taken a back seat. Although
we can't be certain what is happening at the Denver newspapers, other
85


newspaper executives and editors have complained of diversity fatigue,
a much different story compared to 20 years ago. Back in 1978, the
American Society of Newspaper Editors set a goal to have the minority
employment at newspaper match that of the United States population by
2000 or sooner. Back then, minorities made up 4 percent of all
newspaper staffers. Newspapers have since tripled the number of
minorities on staff to a little more than 11 percent, but ASNE "proposed
that the self-imposed deadline be rolled back and the time-frame be
adjusted to become what one editor called 'ambitious but realistic'"
(Barringer, 1998, p. 1). ASNE realized that it was not going to reach its
goal because it had underestimated the number of minorities that would
be in America. "ASNE adopted the goal in 1978 when people of color
made up about 13 percent of the U.S. population and were expected to
grow to just 15 percent by 2000. Instead, the minority population zoomed
to 24 percent in 1997 and is expected to be closer to 30 percent [by the end
of the century]" (Fitzgerald, 1998, p. 14).
Minority groups, upon hearing ASNE's proposal, were frustrated
and said newspapers weren't trying hard enough to find qualified
minority employees. Norman Solomon, a syndicated columnist,
expressed cynicism about ASNE's call to refocus its goal and said the
86


proposal was a mistake. But Solomon (1998) also conceded that times
have changed. After many years of bashing from pundits and politicians,
affirmative action is on the ropes. One result: In California, state
university campuses saw a sharp drop in applications and admission of
black and Latino students (Solomon, 1998). Media executives counter,
however, that some minorities aren't attracted to the news industry as
others were in years past and that more minorities were pursuing more
profitable professions. "The figures of the Newspaper Guild show that
the average experienced reporter's top minimum salary after five years
of work is $724 a week, or less than $40,000 a year below the starting
salary in many law firms, software publishers or brokerage houses"
(Barringer, 1998, p. 3)
Minorities and white women, the so-called beneficiaries of
affirmative action, are also calling foul. Lynch (1991) points out that
some white men support families, wives, sons and daughters who also
feel the bite when their husband/father loses a job to a minority, which,
in turn, increases the ranks of those who oppose affirmative action.
Minorities have also stated their opposition for affirmative action
because, they say, the measure creates tension and a lack of acceptance
from their white colleagues, who sometimes believe minorities are only
87


hired because of their race and not because of skill. "Kevin O'Hanlon, a
reporter at the Cincinnati Enquirer [in 1992], says, 'When a new black
reporter comes into the newsroom I'm sure there are some people think
they would like to see his resume'" (Simurda, 1992, p. 19). It is unclear,
however, what the climate might be among reporters in Denver. The
News has written editorials in support of eliminating affirmative action,
while a former colleague of Post editor Britton on the "GoHome" page
says that Britton has been unfair to white men. "In Chicago," the
reporter writes, "Britton's favorite target was a mid-career reporter
preferably a white male. I'm guessing here, but how many middle-aged
white guys have been driven out of your paper in Denver? Many,
perhaps?" Unfortunately, we won't find out in this study.
Review
The purpose of this study was to outline diversity initiatives at
The Denver Post and the Denver Rocky Mountain News and to detail
the impact of such initiatives on the newspapers' operations. Given the
ethnic make-up of most newspaper staffs, I wanted to know whether the
ethnic groups at the Denver newspapers believed their voices were
represented in discussions about diversity, whether staffers believed
their newspapers were doing all that was possible to find qualified
88


minority employees and whether certain methods to increase the
number of minorities on staff were believed to be necessary. Richard and
Kirby (1997) found that people who disagree that a need exists for
diversity drives are unlikely to support such initiatives. Executives at
the Post and the News, however, were reluctant to discuss their
diversity policies in detail and to disclose the number of minorities on
staff. Insiders say that most of the people on staff at the News and the
Post are white men and that few minorities are in decision-making
positions as editors. The top executives at both newspapers are mostly
white males.
Literature shows differing opinions about diversity and how it is
defined. Some authors attribute the distention about diversity to a lack
of communication and understanding about such initiatives. Practices to
attract minorities, such job fairs and scholarships programs, have served
dual purposes. They have helped to boost minority numbers, but they
have also alienated some white people in the industry and have
curtailed communication. Swanston (1995) says newspaper executives
are partly to blame for the backlash against diversity drives because
white men have been led to believe that their opinions aren't welcome
in the diversity discussion. Swanston says not allowing white men to
89


discuss their feelings about such policies will only lead to their demise
because white men are most likely to decide what direction their
newspapers will take to diversify.
Why did the Denver newspapers decline to participate in this
study? We can only guess. Bad publicity and the fear of isolation could
be key concerns. One newspaper in town, Westword, constantly criticizes
the News and the Post; therefore, the editors at the papers might have
believed that this study would be used against them. Several other
factors might also be considered: Perhaps the executives believed that
they hadn't tried hard enough to boost their ranks. Perhaps they
believed the steps they had taken had hindered more than it helped
them. Maybe they don't have many minorities on their staffs and were
worried about how that would be interpreted. That the executives
declined to participate raises several questions. When a source is
reluctant to talk about certain subjects, it raises red flags in most
reporters' minds. Reporters will tell sources that it's better to discuss a
subject than to decline comment. People will want to know what the
source is hiding.
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Limitations
The most obvious limitation of this study is that data could not be
obtained. One requirement for this study was for the newspaper
executives to send written correspondence that they'd received
information about the study's purpose and protocol and that they agreed
to those terms. The editors did not want to give that consent, although
some people who learned of the study were interested in participating. I
thought I would find the opposite that some individuals would spiral
into silence about their views on diversity, not that the newspapers
would decline to participate. Both newspapers portray that they are
making great strides in this area; they might have more to gain than to
lose with whatever information was disclosed. The findings might have
confirmed that the newspapers are doing an excellent job, or the
findings might have suggested that newspaper executives need to better
define their initiatives, that they should eliminate some polices, or
include more people in the diversity discussion. Executives might have
found that they should boost minority numbers (if believed necessary)
or that they should refocus their goals.
The Denver Rocky Mountain News circulated a special section in
its Feb. 21, 1999, issue, which stated the newspaper's commitment to the
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Full Text

PAGE 1

DIVERSITY AND THE SPIRAL OF SILENCE IN DENVER NEWSROOMS: ARE ALL OF THE VOICES BEING HEARD? by Claudia Hibbert-BeDan B.A., Metropolitan State College of Denver, 1995 A thesis submitted to the University of Colorado at Denver in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Sociology 1999

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1999 by Claudia Hibbert-BeDan All rights reserved.

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This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by Claudia Hibbert-BeDan has been approved by Candan Duran-Aydintug

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Hibbert-BeDan, Claudia (M.A., Sociology) Diversity and the Spiral of Silence in Denver Newsrooms: Are All of the Voices Being Heard? Thesis directed by Assistant Professor A. Leigh Ingram ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to explain what diversity means in the newspaper industry and whether this concept has enhanced or hindered relationships and communication among newspaper staff members. Some literature suggests that some people are resentful about newspapers' method of achieving diversity, which is done not only by creating committees and policy but by looking for specific populations (women and minorities) to fill vacancies on their staffs. This research was to detail newspaper staff members' opinions about the newspaper's method of achieving diversity and the impact of such practices on newspaper operations. The subjects of study were to be newspaper reporters, photographers and editors employed at one of Denver's two major daily newspapers, the Denver Rocky Mountain News or Thf! Denver Post .. Newspaper executives at each paper, however, declined to participate in the study. This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidate's thesis. I recommend its publication. Signed A. Leigh Ingram iv

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DEDICATION to Michael for everything to Mom for making me redo my homework when she thought it was sloppy to Miss Debbie for constant encouragement

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT Thank you to A. Leigh Ingram for understanding when I needed more time to complete this project, Jon Winterton for saying so much in so little time, Candan Duran-Aydintug for being so enthusiastic about sociology, Kjell Tomblom for providing the many, many, many articles on justice theory, to my journalism professors, Jay Brodell, who debated with me about this issue, Richard Chapman, for his attention to detail and Alan Prendergast for keeping an eye on the dailies, to Chris Mancuso and Donnita Wong for all the resources and to Jill and Jeanie for always listening.

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CONTENTS Tables ................................................................................................................. ix CHAPTER 1. WHAT IS DIVERSITY? .............................................................................. 1 Introduction ................................................................................................ 1 The Variables .............................................................................................. 4 Objective of Research ................................................................................ 8 2. AFFIRMATIVE ACTION VS. PREFERENTIAL IDRING ................ 12 Literature Review .................................................................................... 12 Colorizing and Feminizing the News .......................................... 12 The Injustice of Preferential Hiring .............................................. 22 The Spiral of Silence ......................................................................... 29 Perceptions of Justice ........................................................................ 33 Procedural Justice .............................................................................. 35 Distributive Justice ............................................................................ 38 Importance of Study ................................................................................ 46 3. METHODOLOGY ....................................................................................... 50 Direction of Research .............................................................................. 50 Sample ................................................................................................. 53 Procedure ............................................................................................. 54 Terminology ....................................................................................... 55 Research Questions ........................................................................... 56 4. RESULTS ..................................................................................................... 58 Newspapers Decline Participation ....................................................... 58 5. DISCUSSION .............................................................................................. 60 Denver Rocky Mountain News ........................................................... 60 The Denver Post ...................................................................................... 64 The Spiral of Silence in Motion ........................................................... 65 Westword ............................................................................................ 67 The Fear of Isolation ......................................................................... 73 The Denver Newspaper War .......................................................... 76 Diversity Fatigue ................................................................................ 85 Review ................................................................................................. 88 Limitations ................................................................................................ 91 vii

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Suggestions for Future Research .......................................................... 92 APPENDICES A. REQUESTING PARTICIPATION ......................................................... 95 First letter to the News ........................................................................... 95 Second letter to the News ................................... .................................. 97 First letter to the Post .............................................................................. 99. Third letter to the News ....................................................................... 101 Second letter to the Post ....................................................................... 103 B. PROPOSAL ............................................................................................... 105 Protocol .................................................................................................... 105 Consent Form ......................................................................................... 112 Questionnaire ......................................................................................... 114 C. MULTI-NEWSPAPER CffiES .............................................................. 120 Independent Operations ...................................................................... 120 Joint Operating Agreements ............................................................... 122 Common Ownerships .......................................................................... 123 WORKS CITED .................................................................................................. 124 viii

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TABLES TABLE 2.1 Numbers and percentages of whites and minorities by job category, 1997 ............................................................................................................. 21 2.2 Breakdown of minorities by race and job category, 1997 ....................... 21 2.3 Year-round full-time earnings for 1992 .................................................... 39 2.4 Key elements of the distiriction between egoistic and fraternal deprivation ............................................................................................... 45 IX

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CHAPTER ONE WHAT IS DIVERSITY? Introduction Diversity is the buzzword of the 1990s. The Census Bureau reports that the number of minorities in America are steadily increasing, and with this increase comes calls to diversify. Several businesses responded to that call, even Crayola crayons with a "Multicultural" packet. No more Flesh-the pinkish orange meant to represent the one, true skin tone. Instead, pick from Peach and Apricot, or Mahogany and Burnt Orange .... There are "sixteen different skin, hair and eye colors," according to the familiar green and yellow box, "for coloring people around the world." (Brislin and Williams, 1996, p. 16). Technological advances this decade have brought the world closer to home. Because of the "information highway," people can access more information faster than ever before. News is available from several outlets; newspapers, for example, must compete with television, radio and the Internet to get people's attention. Some authors say newspapers must diversify to economically survive because of this increased 1

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competition (Anfuso, 1995; Brislin, 1996; Creed, 1994; "Diversity," 1993; Sunoo, 1994). Several media outlets claim to have something for everyone. Denver news team 9News on KUSATV has a library of advertisements featuring its female news anchors of varying ethnic backgrounds promoting awareness about breast cancer and reminding their female viewers to do monthly breast exams. The Denver Rocky Mountain News, one of the largest daily newspapers in Colorado, has a black reporter who writes columns about events of different ethnic groups. But the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) found that the employment of minorities and women in the news industry lags behind other businesses in the U.S. workforce (Newspaper Association of America, 1995). As a result, minorities and females have been in high demand in the news industry, much to the chagrin of new white male applicants vying for the few spaces available. Media executives justify the move to hire women and minorities by saying women and minorities can provide perspectives and reach populations that white males cannot. The executive's beliefs might partly be attributed to an effort to prevent the embarrassments of news agencies that have 2

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stereotyped groups of different ethnic, racial or religious backgrounds, sexual preferences, or physical abilities et al., 1992). Proponents of the push to diversify the newsroom say it improves the newspaper, company morale, employee retention, as well as communication and understanding among the reporters, editors and society (Anfuso, 1995; Black et al, 1993; Creed, 1994; "Diversity," 1993; Martindale, 1986; Sunoo, 1994; Swanston, 1995). Diversity policies and task forces-responsible for ensuring fair and accurate representations of the news and the different members of society who are written about -have been implemented at several newspapers. The American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) is credited for being one of the first agencies to implement policies to increase the number of minorities in the newspaper industry by establishing the Year 2000 Goal in 1978. The goal was to increase the number of minorities in the newspaper business to make it proportional to the minority representation in the United States. Several newspapers soon followed ASNE's lead by providing scholarships and internships, and sponsoring job fairs and training programs to find, hire and promote minorities. Such practices, however, also created tension and resentment. 3

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Opponents of the push to diversify the newsroom say the "preference" to hire women and minorities over males who are not minorities is unjust (Brimelow, 1992; Lynch, 1991; McGowan, 1993; Shepard, 1993; Simurda, 1992). White men are immediately disadvantaged, and some charge that less qualified women and minorities are chosen for jobs over more qualified white men. Lynch (1991) says white males aren't even allowed to complain when they are rejected for jobs because the political climate discourages opposition to affirmative action policies. Simurda (1992) says "newspapers are meeting with some success in creating a multicultural newsroom, [but] their efforts are creating swirls of controversy and tensions that management has yet to learn to cope with" (p. 19). The Variables The most important variable to understand in this discussion is diversity. In general, diversity has been defined as the number of minority employees working in the newsroom. The National Association of Media Executives, for example, awarded its Distinguished Diversity Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1994 to The Seattle Times. The Times' Publisher and CEO Frank Blethen was said to be a leader for 4

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aligning the ethnic make-up of his company's employees to the rest of the community. The newspaper also was praised for conducting "diversity training, a companywide diversity newsletter and a diversity -council [which] have ingrained pluralism in to the company culture" (Anfuso, 1995, p. 31). But what exactly is diversity? Voakes et al. (1996) formd that "research in media diversity has suffered from a lack of agreement as to its basic conceptual definition" (p. 582). If this is so, how do news executives know that diversity, however it is defined, assures that all voices are heard? Newspaper employees of all ethnic backgrounds at some time or another have complained that editors don't listen to their ideas. Voakes et al. (1996) offer two possible definitions for diversity. "Source diversity is a dispersion of the representation of affiliations and status positions used to create a news product" (Voakes et al, 1996, p. 583584). Content diversity is the "representation of ideas, perspectives, attributions, opinions or frames within a news product and in the context of one particular issue" (Voakes et al., 1996, p. 585). But source diversity -in this case, increasing the number of minorities on staff does not necessarily ensure content diversity. Voakes et al. found that source diversity and content diversity operate independently, a 5

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conclusion that Voakes et al. say has important implications in the discussion about newsroom diversity. Critics who urge broader diversity in the news media may be assuming that diversity of gender and ethnic or ecopomic groups, either in sources or in news personnel, will be followed by a diversity in content. Again, there is no guarantee of that result. This is not to say that employment diversity of source diversity are unimportant or superficial. They represent important social and economic goals, and their realization in the news media has undeniable value. (Voakes et al., 1996, p. 591) Heider (1996) observed one meeting in which a minority journalist tried to make suggestions for news stories but was discounted. It is an example illustrating that source diversity (a black journalist on one news staff) did not necessarily beget content diversity (the representation of new ideas). Discussion in this particular morning news meeting had turned to gang violence. In the midst of the discussion, a black journalist, the only person of color in the meeting, suggested it might be time to start looking at the causes of the violence. There was a period of brief silence after the suggestion, and then conversation moved back to the more recent incidents. Several minutes later, the black journalist restated his idea, suggesting needs to cover such issues as the lack of education in the ethnic community or how poverty might affect rises in youth violence. Again, moments of silence followed. The suggestion was ignored, and conversation move on. The journalist did not press his point further. (Heider, 1996, p. 11). Statistics show that white men most often are responsible for what ends up in the newspapers. But is it enough to say that increasing the number 6

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of minorities in the newsroom will change the color of the published stories? This is an area necessary of study. A second variable in this discussion relates to fairness. Given the above, is it fair for the news industry to hire and promote minorities instead of white males under the guise that it will improve the newspaper operations and what appears in the newspaper? Procedural and distributive justice concepts, which address issues of fairness, should also be considered in a study about diversity. Procedural justice relates to the way resources (in this case, jobs) in the newspaper industry, are allocated. Distributive justice relates to the amount of a resource that is allocated, which could be the perceived number of jobs given to minorities. Methods to achieve diversity, such as job fairs, scholarships, internships or training programs for minorities, could be perceived as unfair because such initiatives violate certain procedural rules. Procedural rules, defined in-depth later in this work, mandate that everyone gets the same treatment, that resources are allocated without bias, that accurate information is considered in giving resources, that the person affected has a chance to have input in regard to the said resource and that the person is treated respectfully and/ or politely during the 7

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transaction. A study in diversity could provide insightful findings on this issue of the fairness of diversity initiatives. Objective of Research Research about diversity in the newsroom either lauds its benefits or laments that it alienates members of the news staff. Little research explains whether diversity initiatives or affirmative action policies have changed how newspapers operate. One study found that the experiences of 531 white and minority newsroom professionals "contrast so sharply that they're nearly mirror images of each other" (MORI Research, 1996, p. 1). The sample for this study included 202 whites, 115 blacks, 105 Asian Americans, 92 Hispanics and 17 American Indians. The gender distribution was 53 percent males and 47 percent females. MORI researchers called their findings discouraging [but said] there is one relative bright spot. The minority journalists tended to be less pessimistic about their own situations than they were about minorities in general" (MORI Research, 1996, p. 1) Minorities and whites who participated in the MORI study had different perceptions in several areas, especially on the subject of hiring and promotions. Minorities tended to believe that they were less likely to be promoted, while whites 8

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believed that minorities were considered first for promotions. Whites said performance standards for minorities were low, but minority groups said their performance standards were higher than those for whites. This study was to evaluate diversity initiatives and their effects on the operation of two Denver-area newspapers. When newspaper executives asked to participate in this study, President Clinton had established an advisory board for the "President's Initiative on Race." The seven-member group traveled around the nation on a year-long mission to race relations and to promote a dialogue among the nation's citizens. Denver was the seventh stop on the tour, and the discussions were punctuated by protests from members of the American Indian and Hispanic communities. Representatives for the groups said they were angry because the advisory board, which consisted of three whites, two blacks, one Hispanic and one Asian, didn't have an American Indian representative. Additionally, the state of Colorado, Denver in particular, had experienced population increases among minority groups, and in the newspaper industry, new people are considered to be potential subscribers. Denver is unique because of its newspaper war. Only 2 9

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percent of America's cities have two competing major daily newspapers owned by independent operations (Biagi, 1996), and Denver is one of them. The newspaper war is said to be beneficial for the readers because neither newspaper can miss a beat. Doing so could mean the loss of subscribers to the competition. Ask any journalism professor -news wars are hot stuff, and they're good for the economy. Advertisers pay less than they would in a one-paper town, and so do subscribers. Most of all, competition supposedly benefits the public since neither combatant can afford to ignore important local stories. (Prendergast, 1997b, p.2) The Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News, recently renamed the Denver Rocky Mountain News try to one-up each other on a daily basis. Each tries to publish stories, and each has columnists that speak to certain factions of the public. Newspaper executives from each paper, however, declined to participate in this study for reasons that weren't completely clear. This work, therefore, is a springboard to point out several questions about diversity in the news industry that should be addressed, including the following questions: (1) What effect could the increase of minorities in Colorado have on the operation of-these papers? (2) Should the increase in minorities mean that the newspapers should hire more minority employees? 10

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(3) How do news executives know that increasing the number of minorities on a news staff will equate to a better newspaper and improved communication between the races? (4) What diversity initiatives, if any, do the newspapers have in place? (5) How are those initiatives defined? (6) What are the effects of such initiatives on newspaper operations and relationships among staff members? 11

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CHAPTER TWO AFFIRMATIVE ACTION VS. PREFERENTIAL HIRING Literature Review Colorizing and Feminizing the News The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ), a national organization of educators, editors and reporters, says diversity is synonymous with journalism ethics. Diversity is clearly a part of accuracy and fairness, whether it relates to avoiding stereotypes or redefining news to better reflect a multicultural society. Diversity is about the makeup of news organizations and about who is making decisions. Diversity is about the way story ideas are developed and who does the reporting. Diversity is about inclusiveness in choosing sources and about giving a voice to the voiceless. (Black, et al., 1993, p. 121). Journalists have been talking about diversity for more than 30 years. After the numerous social upheavals leading up to and during the 1960s, President Lyndon B. Johnson created the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders to investigate the causes of ghetto riots. One of the commission's findings was that the media "had made a substantial effort to present a balanced and factual account of the 12

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disorders but had nonetheless exaggerated both the mood and scale of the disturbances" (Martindale, 1986, p. 3). Some (Anfuso, 1995; Creed, 1994; Heider, 1996; Martindale, 1986; Rivers, 1996; Sunoo, 1994) correlate this trend, which apparently still plagues the industry, to 1/homogeneousu staffs that are out of touch with the communities they are covering. Four minority journalist associations met together for the first time at Unity '94 to redress some issues discussed in the '60s. The July 1994 conference included participants from the Asian American Journalists Association, the Native American Journalists Association, the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, which suggested ways to achieve diversity when reporting the news and hiring the people to report it. They attended workshops to improve their reporting and editing skills as well as panel discussions that covered everything from how to tell the differences between racially sensitive caricatures and racially offensive stereotypes in editorial cartoons and how to avoid sensationalizing crime stories when minorities are accused of the offense. An editorial decision at Time magazine a month before the conference gave participants plenty to discuss. After O.J. Simpson was 13

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arrested in connection with the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her companion, Ron Goldman, both Time and, its rival, Newsweek ran feature stories with O.J. police mug shot on their covers. But the Time cover had been altered, giving Simpson a more sinister look. ... The photo, distributed by The Associated Press, was run unaltered by Newsweek. In the computer-enhanced version that appeared on Time's cover, Simpson's facial expression is unchanged, but his skin and stubble are darker and the contours of his face blurred. The background is lightened to dramatize the contrasts, evoking a more baleful and somber mood [italics in original]. (Biagi, 1996, p. 330) Time used questionable ethics in altering Simpson's photo. Policy for The Associated Press says the "contents of a photograph will never be changed or manipulated in any way .... The integrity of AP's photo report is our highest priority" (Black, et al., 1993, p. 152). The Society of Professional Journalists says news publications should "seek truth and to report it as fully as possible" (Black, et al., 1993, p. 11). Time was not fully reporting the truth by digitally manipulating the photo. The magazine's decision to alter the picture, however inadvertently, perpetuated a stereotype. Simpson's guilt was public fodder for months before his trial would begin. Journalists at the Unity '94 conference thought that the editors at Time believed darkening Simpson's face would make him look more guilty. A spokeswoman for the magazine 14

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\ said Time did not mislead the public in changing the mug shot because the picture was labeled as a photo illustration. She said the magazine only "wanted a cover to create a 'somber, unforgettable' image that went beyond the more widely seen police photo" (Biagi, 1996, p. 330). Nonetheless, Time's editor later apologized. Perhaps Time editors were swayed by the same images they help to create. They are not the first to play with the public's perception of black males. Former President George Bush was criticized in 1988 for using images of convicted black rapist Willie Horton in a commercial to illustrate his vow to get tough on crime. Critics said the commercial encouraged "the white population to conceive people of color as welfare cheats and criminals" (Ezekiel, 1995, p. 322). Charles Stewart, a white furrier from a Boston suburb, in 1989 told police that a black man jumped into his car and ordered Stewart, along with his pregnant wife, to drive to a remote location. Stewart said th"at this fictional black man then shot him and killed his wife. Before the truth came out and it was revealed that Stewart killed his wife for insurance money, several black men reported that they were harassed by the police, an action that ended up "fouling the city's already polluted racial atmosphere" (Lacoya, 1994, p. 47). Convicted murderer Susan Smith first told authorities that her 15

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sons, aged 3 years old and 14 months, were kidnapped by a black man. She later confessed in November 1994 to drowning her boys in her car. Time editors erred in their decision and should have considered how it could have negatively influenced public opinion about dark-skinned black males, especially those with dark complexions. Martindale (1986) says the media is partly responsible for some people's negative perceptions about black people. [T]he way the media portray black Americans and report on relations between the races strongly influences the way the public perceives these aspects of American life. Media reportage can promote attitudes of acceptance, or of hostility and fear; it can increase understanding, or it can encourage repression; it can expose problems and present suggested solutions, or it can ignore uncomfortable situations until they explode into violence. (Martindale, 1986, p. 1) Campbell (1995) says the fast pace of the news industry causes some stories to be published "without a good deal of thought given to the more complex framework in which those stories exist, including the historical, economic, political or sociological factors that have affected the stories" (p. 115); hence, accuracy and fairness, "the very heart of journalism" (Black et al., 1993, p. 43), might be difficult to achieve without diverse staffs. Journalists at the Unity conference said that Time might have ruled differently if a minority was deciding how to play the photo. Heider (1996) says some minority journalists have taken it upon 16

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themselves to explain certain issues about and to find stories within their own communities, but at the same time they also worry about being typecast as the "ethnic beat" reporter. Diverse staffs have benefited some newspapers. Lunchtime rap sessions at the Austin (Texas) American-Statesman were said to have encouraged communication among the staff members and were especially helpful after a shooting involving white police officers and a group of blacks attending a Juneteenth Celebration (Black et al., 1993). The American-Statesman's reporters wondered how to cover the story, "particularly, according to [the paper's editor Maggie] Balough, after a late evening television newscast characterized the incident very emotionally" (Black, et al., 1993, p. 126). The paper even delayed printing to clarify some points. After the story was published, black reporters who'd attended the festival relayed questions and feedback to the paper from blacks in the community. The result was a discussion during which non-minorities were able to express "their fears that no matter how hard they had tried, the coverage might be perceived as racist, [and] black staff members were able to explain the skepticism and mistrust with which people of color historically view the media" (Black, et al., 17

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1993, p. 127). The dialogue also prompted ideas for stories about other segments of the population that were not being covered. Another newspaper exploring allegations of racism in the schools of Chicago's south suburbs went outside its walls in its quest to ensure fairness and accuracy. The Daily Southtown Economist serves communities that range from all-white to all-black; therefore, a multicultural perspective was necessary for the newspaper to reach all of its subscribers. A team of reporters interviewed students of varying backgrounds for its series, "The 4th 'R'," but all the editors who would ultimately decide what would be printed were white. The newspaper's editor Michael Kelley "sought the advice of black journalists [inside and outside of the newspaper, who helped clarify] ... references to Malcolm X in some stories prompting the editors to do more research" (Black, et al., 1993, p. 133). But while the above examples point out that having minorities on staff or assisting a news staff can be helpful, it also illustrates how having more time can encourage people to think about what they are going to publish. Statistics from ASNE and the NAA show that the percentage of women and minorities in the industry has steadily increased. The number of women in the news industry has increased more than other 18

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groups. Women presently represent 41 percent of the journalism work force (Bridge, 1997; NAA Diversity Department, 1997). Bridge (1997) adds that that "the gains have been primarily among white women .... Minority female employment has gone back and forth between 7 and 8 percent" (p. 44). Table 2.1 shows numbers and percentages of whites and I minorities by job type. ASNE reported that whites make up about 89 percent of newspaper staffs, while minorities make up a little more than 11 percent. ASNE's numbers, however, are not broken down by sex. Table 2.1 shows that most minorities are reporters or photographers, and therefore, are not in decision-making at the newspaper. Reporters and photographers can pitch ideas for assignments, but they don't normally make calls on what gets published. They get assignments from supervisors or editors. Copy editors are responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper; they polish news stories by fact-checking, by correcting grammar or by adding information. Layout editors are responsible for the design of the news pages (i.e. what photographs or graphics should accompany each story). Layout editors also help to decide which stories are most important by their placement in the paper (i.e. the front page or inside pages). 19

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Table 2.2 shows the breakdown of minorities on newspaper staffs. The table shows that there are more blacks than Hispanics, Asians and American Indians in decision-making positions as supervisors, copy editors and layout editors-although the numbers are small. Table 2.2 also shows that there are more Hispanics and Asians than there are blacks and American Indians working as photographers. There are also more blacks than Hispanics, Asians and American Indians working as reporters. The number of minorities in journalism has tripled since the late 1970s (ASNE, 1997), but some still complain that the news only caters to a select few. Hence, the call to increase the number of minorities. is a continuing debate in the news industry. 20

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N ,_. Table 2.1: Numbers and percentages of whites and minorities by job category, 1997 Total work force Whites Minorities No. Pet. No. Pet. supervisors 12,907 11,762 91.1% 1,145 8.9% copy /layout editors 10,264 9,207 89.7% 1,057 14.0% reporters 25,074 21,951 87.5% 3,123 12.5% photographers 5,759 4,953 86.0% 806 14.0% TOTAL 54,004 40[73 88.65% 6,131 _L__ 11.35% ---------Source: ASNE Table 2.2: Breakdown of minorities by race and job category, 19971 Total work Blacks Hispanics Asians American I I force Indians No. Pet. No. Pet. No. Pet. No. Pet. supervisors 12,907 554 4.3% 345 2.7% 168 1.3% 78 0.6% copy /layout 10,264 480 4.7% 289 2.8% 242 2.4% 46 0.4% editors reporters 25,074 1,629 6.5% 877 3.5% 520 2.0% 97 0.4% photographers 5,759 266 5.4% 300 5.2% 211 3.7% 29 0.5% TOTAL 54,004 2,929 5.4% 1,811 3.4% L_l,141 2.1% 250 0.5% --------Source: ASNE 1 Numbers might not add up exactly because of rounding.

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The Injustice of Preferential Hiring The decisions at the American-Statesman and the Economist illustrate how asking for different opinions and taking the time to consult minorities on some issues has benefited the editorial process. Several authors (Black, et al., 1993; Brislin and Williams, 1996; Campbell, 1995; Creed, 1994, "Diversity," 1993; Heider, 1996; Martindale, 1986; Rivers, 1996; Sunoo, 1994) laud the practice of increasing the number of women and minorities in the workplace, and the practice is employed in many of America's corporations (Shepard, 1993). The method of boosting the number of underrepresented groups, however, is coming under fire. Some white men believe they've been placed in the unenviable position once occupied by minorities and women (Brimelow, 1992; Lynch, 1991; McGowan, 1993; Shepard, 1993; Simurda, 1992). "David Hamilton, ... an assistant managing editor and recruiter at Newsday, says, 'Given an equal choice, we'll tilt toward the minority to address ills that have built up over the course of the century'" (Shepard, 1993, p. 21). Brian Cour, a sports editor in 1992 at The Oregonian, told one author that "'People with above-average skills are being passed over in favor of people with marginal skills. You don't have the most talented people doing the job'" (Simurda, 1992, p. 19). 22

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Affirmative action has always had some detractors, but it was "accepted-if grudgingly-by business, because businesses knew that employees and job applicants could bring suit under federal guidelines" (Rivers, 1996, p. 132). Some businesses used quota systems and set agendas to hire and promote a certain number of people from underrepresented groups. While some people disagree with the policy, Lou Harris and Associates, a polling firm, reports that a little over half to two-thirds of adults favored affirmative action (Harris, 1992). But substitute the words racial preference for affirmative action and different opinions emerge. Lou Harris measured the public's attitude about the phrases two times. We asked the same cross-section of 1,250 adults the following questions: [1] Do you favor or oppose federal laws requiring affirmative action [italics in original] programs for minorities in employment and in education, provided there are no rigid quotas? and [2] Do you favor or oppose federal laws requiring racial preference [italics in original] programs for minorities in employment and in education, provided there are no rigid quotas? ... Both yielded margins of 7-1, the difference being that "affirmative action" came up 7-1 positive, while "racial preference" came up 7-1 negative. To the people interviewed, affirmative action connoted such positive things as "doing something good for people who have not had an equal chance ... By contrast, "racial preference" was taken to mean "reverse discrimination ... [It implied] setting quotas by race, which [the Supreme Court case Regents of the University of California v.]Bakke and Weber clearly outlawed. (Harris, 1992, p. 20) 23

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Affirmative action is supposed to promote nondiscriminatory practices in hiring, promotions or admissions to college, but some whites say the policy discriminates against them. Resentment grew about affirmative action and quota systems after Alan Bakke, a white student who was denied admission to medical school at the University of California at Davis, won a suit against the college. In the Supreme Court case, Regents of the University of California v. Bakke (1978), Bakke challenged "setaside" slots, reserved for minorities to encourage their careers in medicine. Bakke said the practice was unfair, especially since he had higher grades than some of the minorities who were admitted because of quotas. The Supreme Court ultimately ruled 5-4 that Bakke should be admitted to the school and that fixed quotas were illegal; however, the court did make a provision "that race could be a factor in admissions programs in order to secure a more diversified student body" (Davidson, et al., 1990, p. 1298). The Supreme Court would hear many more cases after Bakke's, and the court's rulings took a "conservative shift" between 1980 and 1988 on the subject of government programs that were implemented as a method to achieve racial parity (Savage, 1997b; Storrs, 1992). The reasoning for affirmative action programs was the belief that the 24

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country's history of discrimination prevented equal opportunity for minority groups. White men then challenged the programs on the same basis-that they were denied equal opportunity. Earl Fullilove and other white-owned contractors filed suit against the state and city of New York saying that a provision to allot 10 percent of local public works projects to minority-owned businesses put whites at a disadvantage. The state never considered allotting a fixed percentage of business to white men, which prompted the contractors to say that they were denied equal protection under the law, which was in violation of their 14th Amendment rights. The Supreme Court judges, however, disagreed. In Fullilove v. Klutznick (1980), the court ruled 6:3 that the program did not violate the terms of the 14th Amendment, presumably under the assumption that white males didn't need quotas to assure their livelihoods. Eight years later, however, the court ruled 6:3 that a program in Richmond, Virginia, to allot a certain percentage of government contracting jobs to minority businesses was unfair. The City of Richmond v. J.A. Croson Co. (1988) case was similar to Fullilove, except in Croson, officials of the city of Richmond said 30 percent of the city's construction work should go to minority-owned businesses. J.A. Croson 25

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then sued on the grounds that his 14th Amendment rights of equal protection were violated. The court agreed and said "the city,had not presented enough evidence of discrimination ... to justify remedying past discrimination" (Storrs, 1992). White women, who are supposed to benefit from affirmative action policies, are filing complaints. Since white women have made gains in some industries, companies' focuses are shifting more toward minorities. According to Shepard (1993), "[w]hen managers talk about diversity, they include white women, but there's a greater focus on hiring and promoting minorities" (p. 20). In the 1990s, Sharon Taxman, a white woman, filed suit under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 after she, instead of a black woman, was laid off from her job at a New Jersey school. The facts of the case are simple. In 1989, the Piscataway High School decided to lay off a business education teacher. Tied for the least seniority were Sharon Taxman and Debra Williams, [a black teacher] who had started work the same day. Rather than flip a coin, school officials invoked their affirmative action plan and laid off Taxman ... (Savage, 1997a, p. 1) A group of civil rights organizations ultimately provided the major portion of a $433,000 settlement that the Piscataway Township Board of Education paid to Taxman rather than risk the elimination of the school's affirmative action initiatives in court (Greenwood, 1997, p. 2A). 26

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The settlement disappointed some affirmative action foes (ScrippsMcClatchy, 1997), but there are new cases challenging affirmative action policies. Yvette Farmer, a white sociologist, claimed that she was -overlooked for a teaching job at the University of Nevada at Reno after a black sociologist, who had emigrated from Uganda, Africa, got the job. Farmer was hired a year later, but she then found that she was making $11,000 less than her male counterpart. The university's affirmative action plan included an unwritten 'minority bonus' policy that authorized the pay disparity ... [,but the Nevada Supreme Court ruled in early 1997 on] a 3-2 vote [that] the university can give hiring preferences and higher salaries to minority faculty members. (Savage, 1997b, p. 1) Farmer's case, however, raised another challenging question for Justice Charles Springer: How is hiring an emigrant from Africa justified under affirmative action -a policy implemented to redress past discrimination against American minorities? Federal and state governments have changed their policies since the original inception of affirmative action in the 1960s. The Supreme Court decided in November 1997 to uphold a California measure to eliminate race and gender preferences in employment and education (Yeager, 1997). After that, the state of Washington in 1998 passed a law banning considerations of race in employment and college admissions. 27

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The Colorado state legislature also has considered bills to eliminate the consideration of race in employment and college admission. The bills have failed but are gaining support. Randy Pech, a Colorado businessman, gained national notoriety in 1995 when he challenged a program that gave government contracts to businesses owned by women and minorities and said it was "reverse discrimination." He initially won a U.S. Supreme Court case that prohibited some "breaks" for businesses owned by women and minorities, but the Supreme Court's ruling was being debated in the Court of Appeals. Pech then filed suit to be classified as "disadvantaged" so he could be on equal footing with minority-and women-owned businesses. Pech claimed that dedicating jobs to women-and minorityowned businesses was preventing his business the opportunity to make money, but when Pech's business was also classified as "disadvantaged" and he was competing on the same terms with minority-and womenowned businesses, the Court of Appeals in March 1999 ruled that he no longer had a claim (Abbott, 1999). But, in a similar case, the U.S. Supreme Court in March 1999 ruled in favor of a program in Utah which gave minority and women business owners extra help in winning government highway contracts, but against a program to 28

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promote minorities and women over qualified white men with higher test scores in a Texas fire department. The Spiral of Silence Though several professionals in the news industry have voiced their support for and opposition to affirmative action, the spiral of silence can hinder some from talking about their concerns. The spiral of silence begins when people believe they hold an opinion that others do not share. A couple of things then happen. People either start to base their opinions on what others believe, or they don't say anything at all. The result of such actions is that people's "restraint [makes] the view that was receiving vocal support appear to be stronger than it really was, and the other view [is believed to be] weaker" (Noelle-Neumann, 1984, p.S). Noelle-Neumann (1984) developed the spiral of silence hypothesis during elections in West Germany in the late 1960s. Public opmion polls at that time showed that half the people supported Social Democrats, while the other half supported Christian Democrats. As an experiment, one of Noelle-Neumann's students wore a button in support of Christian Democrats but later removed the button because of 29

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hostility from people in the community. Noelle-Neumann said the student's actions were understandable because the Social Democrats were more visible and willing to express and display their convictions. It did not matter that both groups had an equal share of the community's support. The spiral of silence hypothesis proposes that accuracy in the assessment of the climate of opinion on an issue is irrelevant to the hypothesis. It is the perception of the climate of opinion which counts, however accurate or inaccurate that perception might be [italics in original]. (Rimmer and Howard, 1990, p. 48) Lynch (1991) finds the same pattern among whites on the subject of affirmative action. He cites data from studies in the late 1970s and early 1980s that shows that "the majority of Americans have been overwhelmingly opposed to affirmative action as quotas or preferential treatment. Yet interview data gathered here and elsewhere show that people perceive the pro-quota viewpoint as the majority viewpoint" (Lynch, 1991, p. 112). Lynch says that the whites he interviewed felt uncomfortable, even guilty, discussing their opposition to affirmative action policies because proponents "have been able to invoke guilt over past treatment of blacks in the United States" (p. 112). The discomfort that some feel about opposing measures such as affirmative action might be attributed to the pressure to conform to a group's beliefs. 30

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Smith (1982) distinguishes two types of conformity. Simple compliance, sometimes called expedient conformity, occurs when a person publicly expresses attitudes and behaviors acceptable to the group, yet hold private beliefs at odds with the group .... In contrast, private acceptance, or true occurs when an individuals internalizes group norms as his or her own. In this case a person's public and private beliefs are congruent with group norms [italics in original]. (Smith, 1982, p. 160). People, therefore, might subscribe or conform with some group beliefs because they believe such a stance will benefit them in some way. White men, for instance, might say they support issues such as affirmative action because they don't want to be perceived as racists. But Lynch (1991) says implementing affirmative action programs to redress the history of minorities' unequal treatment in America is a type of cognitive dissonance. People's cognitions, or beliefs, "may be either a consonant or a dissonant relationship [italics in original] .... For example, cigarette smoking is in a dissonant relation to the Ia:towledge that -smoking cause disease and death. A behavior like lying is dissonant with the belief that one is an honest person" (Smith, 1982, p. 121). This is why some people might find it difficult to vocally oppose measures such as affirmative action; doing so might be interpreted to mean that the person approves of discrimination against minorities. Lynch (1991) argues the choice to state political views about affirmative action puts 31

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whites in a difficult position. "The ideal of equality and the legacy of slavery and discrimination contradict each other. The conflict generates tension, embarrassment and guilt in the mind of most Americans" (Lynch, 1991, p. 112). Cognitive dissonance might be why some news professionals report that they've also spiraled into silence on affirmative action policies, especially if they believe that their newspaper's diversity mission statement discourages dissenting opinions. That silence could then influence how people form their views about affirmative action and how they gauge who supports the measure and who is against it. Noelle-Neumann (1984) uses three themes to explain the process of forming public opinion. the human ability to realize when public opinion grows and/ or weakens in strength; the reaction to perceived public opinion, which prompts silence or more confident speech and actions; and the fear of isolation, which influences whether people will conform to other people's opinions. Several other factors, including socio-economic factors (Lasorsa, 1991) media exposure (Rimmer and Howard, 1990) or political institutions (Allen, 1991), can impact how people perceive their environments and 32

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strongly influences whether they will express or suppress their opinions. The media have been found to be especially influential when people form public opinion during times of war (Eveland, McLeod and -Signorielli, 1995), during elections (Katz and Baldassare, 1992) and during government trials (Gonzenbach, 1992). One study that analyzed the actual and perceived support in the United States for the Persian Gulf War, found that 53.1 percent of the public was neutral, disagreed or strongly disagreed with the government conflict, while only 6.6 percent said they strongly supported it (Eveland, McLeod and Signorielli, 1995). The media, however, was not strong in its support when they reported on the war. The media could influence the public's opinion about affirmative action, therefore, as the media report more cases that challenge the policy's existence and show more people becoming outspoken in their opposition to affirmative action measures. Perceptions of Justice The move to colorize and feminize the newsroom is somewhat of a means to make amends for historical wrongs. Inequalities for women and minorities are evident throughout American history. The civil rights movement during the 1960s, however, showed most blatantly 33

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that America was not living up to its national creed of providing opportunity for all. The media documented some of these wrongs in print and on film, which were broadcast and redistributed throughout the world and, in effect, helped to change national policy. Affirmative action and racial quotas were the direct result of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Rivers (1996) says "the civil rights movement brought fairly broad recognition that blacks -and later women -had indeed faced severe discrimination in the job market and that some remedial action was only fair" (p. 132). Research has shown, however, that different people have different ways of determining what is "fair." People's satisfaction or dissatisfaction with different situations can depend on how certain resources are allocated (Foa and Foa, 1976). People might be more concerned with the resource amount or type (distributive justice), or they might be more concerned with how resources are given (procedural justice). To determine how resource types can affect justice perceptions, Foa and Foa (1976) established six resource types that fit into two categories particularistic and universalistic. Particularistic resources (status, love and services) get their value based on the relationships among the people exchanging the resource (p. 102). Universalistic resources (information, money and 34

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goods) "retain the same value and meaning regardless of the relation between, of characteristics of, the reinforcing agent and the recipient" (p. 102). Foa and Foa's work shows how resource types can influence justice perceptions. Procedural Justice Early research in procedural justice focused on situations in organizations, politics and interpersonal relationships (Lind and Tyler, 1988; van den Bos, et al., 1997). But the concept of procedural justice is also relevant when people apply for jobs since being employed can elevate one's status in society. Since status is a particularistic resource, the way it is allocated is likely to be more important than how much status is given. Indeed, status is difficult to measure in amounts because it "indicates an evaluative judgment that conveys prestige, regard or esteem" (Foa and Foa, 1976, p. 101). The same can be said of the particularistic resource love which is defined as "an expression of affectionate regard, warmth or comfort" (Foa and Foa, 1976, p. 101). Spending time with loved ones is one way people can show love; hence, how people spend time with their loved ones (i.e. whether they are nice) might be more important than the amount of time that people spend 35

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together. If people act as though they'd rather be somewhere else when they are spending time with their loved ones, the amount of time that is spent with the loved one becomes less important. Leventhal (1980) has established six procedural justice rules-consistency, bias suppression, accuracy of information, correctability, representativeness and ethicality-to evaluate the fairness of different situations. More detailed explanations of the procedural rules are provided below. consistency-A fair procedure would illustrate "that [the] treatment of all individuals is compatible with stated rules, goals and values" (Ayers, 1992, p. 225). That is, what happens for one should happen for all. bias suppression Most procedures are seen as unfair if the decision-maker "has a vested interest in any specific decision ... [or if the decision-maker] is so influenced by his or her prior beliefs that all points of view do not receive adequate and equal consideration" (Lind and Tyler, 1988, p. 131). Bias is to be avoided, and the decision-maker must be viewed as impartial for procedures to seem fair. accuracy of information-When decisions are based on inaccurate information, the procedure will be seen as unfair. People who employ expert or well-informed opinions when they are gathering information to make their decisions enhance the perception of procedural fairness. correctability-Procedures are believed to be fair if provisions exist to identify problems then change decisions that are believed to be unfair. Grievance and appeals processes, as well as monitoring programs, are necessary elements in fulfilling this rule. 36

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representativeness This rule says that people must be given an opportunity to voice their opinions or concerns when decisions are being made. Research has found that people believe most procedures are fair when they are allowed to express their opinions even if the decision doesn't go the way they wanted (Gilliland and Beckstein, 1996). By allowing people to express their concerns, decision-makers can better illustrate that they are impartial and are gathering enough information to form a just decision. ethicality-This rule says that people are to be treated respectfully and politely to believe that they are being treated fairly. "Procedural justice depends on the extent to which an allocation procedures conforms to personal standards of ethics and morality" (Lind and Tyler, 1988, p. 132). Hence, if people find out they were deceived when decisions were made, they will believe that the procedure was unjust. It appears that all of the aforementioned procedure rules have been violated when resources were allocated to women and minorities in America. Male and female minorities and white women have been paid less than white males and have had fewer options for employment throughout history (Davidson, et al., 1990). In the past, women had to be satisfied with nurturing or support jobs as nurses, teachers or secretaries, while minority males and females were to be satisfied with service jobs as cooks, maids, railroad porters or elevator operators. The discrimination experienced by white women and minorities is a violation of the consistency rule because the U.S. Constitution promises equal opportunity. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, in effect, mandated 37

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companies to implement some procedural justice rules and said everyone should receive equal treatment. [I]t barred discrimination in public accommodations, such as lunch counters, bus stations and hotels; it authorized the attome_y general to bring suit to desegregate schools, museums and other public facilities; it outlawed discrimination in employment by race, color, religion sex or national origin; and it gave additional protection to voting rights. (Davidson, et al., 1990, p. 1171) Distributive Justice Should resources be allocated equally, according to need or based on what is deserved? The answer to this question seems partly to depend on the resource type, and who is giving and getting the resource. The method in which resources are allocated "may reflect 'either an internalized goal' (for example, maximize own outcomes, maximize joint outcomes, maximize own and other's outcomes in one's own favor, maximize other's outcomes, and so forth) or a 'strategy to alter the behavior of another"' (Cook and Messick, 1983, p. 4). The employment market and how it operates involves principles of distributive justice. Employment can be considered a universalistic resource because it can increase the information people can access, the amount of money they can make and the goods can buy. And, again, history as well as current trends show that minorities and women 38

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earn less money and have less prestigious jobs when this resource is allocated. White men are 39.2 percent of the population, yet they comprise 82.5 percent of the Forbes 500 listing of individuals who are worth at least $265 million apiece; white men hold 77 percent of the seats in Congress, 92 percent of state governorships, 70 percent of tenured college faculty slots, nearly 90 percent of daily newspaper editorships, and 77 percent of TV news director jobs. Minority groups are in fact advancing slowly. When the executive search firm Korn Ferry prepared its ten-year survey of senior executives in 1989, it found that blacks had gone from 0.2 percent to a mere 0.6 percent of top corporate jobs, Hispanic from 0.1 percent to 0.4 percent, and women executives from 0.5 percent to 3 percent. (Rivers, 1996, p. 134) Perhaps then its not surprising that white men on the average make more money than women and minorities. (See table 2.3). Table 2.3: Year-round full-time earnings for 19922 Race/Sex Earnings Earnings as a percentage of white men's3 White men $ 31,012 100.0 black men $ 22,369 72.1 Hispanic men $ 20,049 64.6 white women $ 21,659 69.8 black women $ 19,819 63.9 Hispanic women $ 17,138 55.3 Source: National Committee on Pay Eqmty (1993) 2 Data for Asian/Pacific Islanders and American Indians was not available. 3 It is important to note that not all white men are making more money than women and minorities. Some women and minorities make more money than white men. 39

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But how does one figure out equal distributions? People have differing ideas about equality. Some of the various equalities that are important are equality of outcome, equality of outcQme per unit (equity), equal excess or equality of outcome above a minimum level, equality in psychic profit from an exchange, procedural equality or equality in the application of rules and procedures, equality of opportunity and so on. The problem of finding fair arrangements is not one of equality versus inequality but one of equality with regard to what. (Messick and Sentis, 1983, p. 68) Several factors affect people's evaluations of fair situations. People aren't always satisfied, and they can perceive distributions to be unjust even when they get their "fair" share. While it isn't always clear why different groups feel different ways about the same system, it is obvious that justice perceptions are based on some kind of comparison. Equity theory and relative deprivation theory are both concerned with how and why justice perceptions arise and are relevant in a discussion about newsroom diversity. Equity Theory: People believe situations are equitable if they achieve the same outcomes, or distribution of resources, as someone similar to them (Cook and Messick, 1983; Martin and Murray, 1983; Tornblom, 1992; van den Bos, et al., 1997). The theory also suggests that justice perceptions are influenced by expectations as well as contributions. Equity theory is based on comparisons believed to be just 40

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or fair (Cook and Messick, 1983). When inequitable situations arise, people take steps to change them because inequity causes dissatisfaction (Cook and Messick, 1983; Messick and Sentis, 1983; Tomblom, 1992); hence, the two diverging perspectives in the example below: a conservative rich man might take the position that his wealth is deserved because of two of his input characteristics: a blueblooded family background and a diploma from one of the appropriate Ivy League universities. A poor man, in Marxist tradition, might decide that wealth should be distributed to each person according to that person's need. This reduces the number of relevant inputs to one: need. (Martin and Murray, 1983, p. 172) Although two political spectrums fit into the above example, equity theory is said to have "strongly conservative undertones" (Martin and Murray, 1983, p. 173). Contributions are key factors in determining fair distributions, but equity theory doesn't consider that some people don't have the same opportunity to make certain inputs (Martin and Murray, 1983). This is illustrated in the above example of the blue-blood and the poor man. Obviously, the poor man wouldn't have access to an Ivy League school unless he had outside help to get the resources to cover the cost. Equity theory is said to represent those who could gain the most from the status quo. Historically, this has been whites in particular, but it is especially true of white men (Davidson, et al., 1992). As part of the 41

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status quo, individuals start to expect certain benefits because others like them received similar benefits in the past. Justice perceptions also are formed over time, and the "conception of equity is historically and culturally determined" {Tornblom, 1992, p. 181). Research also shows that people perceive situations to be fair or just when they receive what they expect (Martin and Murray, 1983; Messick and Sentis, 1983). This is partly why affirmative action backlash exists. White males aren't getting what they expect. "The comfort level that white males used to have about the automatic getting of jobs is gone," says David Hawpe, 50 [at the time he was quoted], the white editor of the Courier-Journal in Louisville [Kentucky]. "Yes, there are fewer jobs for white males. That is a fact. But where is it written that those jobs belong to white men by divine birthright?" (Shepard, 1993, p. 20) Relative Deprivation Theory: Like equity theory, relative deprivation theory doesn't make clear distinctions between what is expected and what is considered fair (Martin and Murray, 1983). But it does explain how some people can believe that certain expectations are considered unfair. For example, some black people who drive nice cars have said that they expect to be hassled by police. Relative deprivation theory is based on comparisons that people believe to be unfair. The comparison might be thought of as unfair by the person involved or by 42

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someone else observing the situation. Relative deprivation is based on five criteria (Crosby, 1976; Cook and Messick, 1983): someone possesses a resource; another person wants it; the person feels entitled to the resource; the person believes (s)he can obtain the resource; and the person doesn't blame him/herself for not having the resource. Relative deprivation theory is said to have conservative and liberal undertones (Martin and Murray, 1983). In contrast to equity theory, relative deprivation is only based on people's outcomes, or their distribution or resources, rather than their contributions. There are two types of relative deprivation (Crosby, 1976; Martin and Murray, 1983): Egoistic deprivation is considered conservative and focuses on individual behavior. Fraternal deprivation is a more liberal theory; it focuses on group behavior and has potential to change the status quo. Let's consider minorities and whites, using the five criteria concerning relative deprivation. In one case, whites might believe that minorities have resources that they want and feel entitled to in this case, jobs in newspaper journalism. Whites believe they can obtain the resource under the right circumstances (perhaps, this would mean eliminating 43

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affirmative action), and they blame others for not having certain resources. The reverse example would also work when minorities believe that whites have resources that the minorities feel entitled to, 'etc. The differences between egoistic and fraternal deprivation are best explained in table 2.4. From the table, we will see that egoistic deprivation relates to individuals, and fraternal deprivation relates to groups. Early research in relative deprivation theory focused on disadvantaged groups. For example, women and minorities in the past could expect to be discriminated against, but they still believed their treatment was unjust. Equity theory, on the other hand, would determine that minorities and women's treatment in the past was just because they might not have had the education or experience to compete with white males for certain jobs. In other words, women and minorities in the past might not have had the contributions necessary to achieve the same outcomes as white males. Without noting the historical and cultural contexts in which such instances can occur, however, the above opinion could be considered as an example of egocentric bias: the "tendency for individuals to take more credit for a 44

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social or group product than other people would accord them" (Messick and Sentis, 1983, p. 71). Table 2.4: Key elements of the distinction between egoistic and fraternal deprivation EGOISTIC FRATERNAL COMPARER 11I," self 11We," self's membership group COMPARATIVE usually individual usually group REFERENT CHARACTERISTICS similar more prosperous, OF REFERENT dissimilar DISCONTENT unique to comparer potentially shared with others in membership group BEHAVIOR usually individual usually collective ALLEVIATION OF self only whole membership DISCONTENT group WOULD BENEFIT Source: Martin and Murray (1983) p. 186 Whites and minorities can both believe they are fraternally deprived. Each group might believe it is somehow disadvantaged, and members of both groups might believe that others are given 11Credit" or jobs that they don't deserve. Following the table 2.4, let's consider that whites as a group are the comparers, and minorities are the referent group in regard to affirmative action. The referents' (minorities') characteristics are dissimilar to the comparers', and the comparers could believe that the referent group (minorities) is more prosperous because 45

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of affirmative action perks. The collective behavior of whites who are affirmative action foes is to outwardly oppose it and to vote or support measures against it. In the end, the elimination of set diversity policies would benefit the comparers (whites). Let's also consider the reverse. Minorities are the comparers, and whites are the referents. Again, the referents' characteristics are dissimilar to the comparers' (minorities), who also believe that the referents (whites) are more prosperous than them. History provides evidence of this, at least in regard to finances and opportunity. Most of the comparer group members (minorities) would share the belief that they lack finances and the opportunity to attain those finances, which could lead to collective behavior, such as being outspoken about the benefits of affirmative action and voting for measures to keep the policy on the books. Importance of Study The Colorado Coalition on Race Relations in a March 1998 report about race relations says that the representation of minorities in the media is often negative. The coalition says the media often reinforces stereotypes, which contributes to racial tension and misunderstanding. 46

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Researchers the noted the following, in contrast to the Society of Professional Journalist's belief that newspaper editors were improving their portrayal of minorities in the news: Local newspapers were cited by some as feeding racism [sic] media promotes stereotypes by the way they decide which stories to cover and which they neglect (e.g. a black woman having six kids from one birth is local news, while a white woman having seven in one birth,is treated as a national event) [parentheses in quote]." (Colorado Coalition, 1998, p. 21) Media does not cover black on black, [or] Hispanic on Hispanic types of crime; instead, [the] focus is on reporting crimes among minorities and Anglos [sic] media does not report when police officers are convicted unless the perception is that the police officer gets preferential treatment. (Colorado Coalition, 1998, p. 21) Pictures as presented through the media become internalized and redefine our norms. (Colorado Coalition, 1998, p. 21) Media representation of communities creates either positive or negative images of how a community .is perceived. (Colorado Coalition, 1998, p. 42) Media has a tendency to show negative housing situations and to portray people in housing projects in a negative way. (Colorado Coalition, 1998, p. 42) Again, media representatives have said such incidents can be reduced if more minorities are working on newspaper staffs. But this has yet to be proven. It is difficult to find middle ground on this issue. Some charge that affirmative action creates more friction than it promotes 47

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understanding, and others criticize the newspaper industry for not changing fast enough. "In fact the ASNE calculate that nearly 46 percent of the country's daily papers don't employ minorities at all" (Anfuso, 1995, p. 30), and the International Women's Media Foundation says men are seven times more likely than women to reach the highest levels of media management. Diversifying, however, is a double-edged sword. Although many claim such practices are still very necessary, society is becoming less tolerant of affirmative action policies, as illustrated in the following quote. The ideal of merit hiring has been subverted by politicized hiring with white males unable to defend themselves against open discrimination. But quotas bring other problems, including conflict among the "protected classes" they benefit and growing racial polarization, particularly as the articulate middle class begins to suffer. (Brimelow, 1992, p. 76) Such factors probably weren't considered in the newspaper industry's zeal to diversify, but it is time for a thorough analysis of these concepts, especially if gaps between minority and majority are widened rather than bridged. Findings of this research will be especially relevant to the field of sociology in the area of justice theory (distributive and procedural). Distributive justice says people determine what is fair by the amount of resources they are rewarded. Procedural justice says people determine 48

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what is fair by the way, or the method, in which they receive certain resources. Affirmative action incorporates concepts of distributive and procedural justice, and the Supreme Court, on more than one occasion, has been asked to re-evaluate the policy. Some states have already eliminated the policy for college admissions and state employment. From this research, newspaper executives might have learned how diversity initiatives have impacted their newspaper's operation. The results might also be useful for mapping out plans for future hiring and promotions. This is also believed to be important research, as noted above, because of the media's ability to impact society. Who better to ask about these trends than the people who work in the industry? It is important to know how the people who report society's events view the environment in which they work and whether they believe they are allowed to report on different, or conflicting, views. 49

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CHAPTER THREE METHODOLOGY Direction of Research The goal in a discussion about newsroom diversity should be to establish what relationships exist between diversity and its assumed effects. The first objective should be to establish a definition of diversity The concept diversity could be broken down into parts. For example, 01 could represent source diversity or the increased number of minorities on a newspaper staff, 02 could represent content diversity or the representation of ideas, and so on depending on other areas that are to be explored. The effects of diversity could be conceptualized as E11 E2 E3 and so on. E11 for example, might represent an improved newspaper, E2 could represent improved communication, E3 could represent company morale, E4 could represent employee retention and E5 could represent resentment. Researchers could then explore whether positive or negative relationships exist between diversity and its supposed effects. The following visual perspective of these relationships might be useful in this analysis. 50

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Dt Et D2 Et Dt E2 D2 E2 Dt E3 D2 E3 Dt E4 D2 E4 Dt Es D2 Es Researchers also should look to see whether nonspurious relationships exist between diversity and its supposed effects. A nonspurious relationship exists when a third variable can't explain away the relationship between two other variables. In other words, using the first of the ten equations above, researchers would have to assure that if a relationship did exist between diversity and an improved newspaper, they would also need to know whether the finding of an improved newspaper couldn't be attributed to some other factor. Another relationships that might be explored is how diversity relates to fairness. In other words, is it fair to implement affirmative action policies? 51

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Field research and surveys are both appropriate research designs, given the multitude of opinions that might emerge about diversity, affirmative action and justice perceptions. "Interpretivism [a type of field research] aims at discovering how the subject of study understands his or her life" (Babbie, 1998, p. 281). Field research also "is well suited to the study of social processes over time" (Babbie, 1998, p. 283). This method will aid understanding about justice perceptions since they are also formed over time (Lowe and Vodanovich, 1995; Martin and Murray, 1983; Messick and Sentis, 1983; Tornblom, 1992). Field research yields high validity4 and allows the researcher to directly observe and interact with the study subjects; however, it yields low reliabilitt and its findings are difficult to generalize to large populations. Questionnaires, on the other hand, yield high reliability because they can reach large populations. The protocol for this research was to include a questionnaire and interviews (see protocol, Appendix B). The research could not be completed, but the following methodology could be employed. validity describes the accuracy: of the variable's measurement. "For example, your IQ would seem a more valid measure of your intelligence than would the number of hours you spend in the library" (Babbie, 1998, p. G7). 5 reliability suggests that the same type of data could be collected each time the study was conducted. 52

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Sample Participants could be asked to complete a questionnaire, similar to the one in Appendix B, which was designed to gain an understanding of diversity and its influence at each newspaper as well as the respondents' perceptions of justice and their opinions about their newspaper's procedures. Participants should be asked to sign consent forms, which include letters that explained the study's methods and purpose. The subjects of study were to be reporters, photographers and editors who are employed at large daily newspapers. If the study were to be conducted in Colorado, the Denver Rocky Mountain News or The Denver Post, which are the largest daily newspapers in Colorado, should be asked to participate. Both rated among the top 50 newspapers in the United States in 1993 because they had high representations of minorities on their staffs (Shepard, i993). This is consistent with the finding that most minorities work at newspapers with circulations of 100,000 or more (ASNE, 1997; Shepard, 1993). The News, which is delivered to 13 counties within close proximity of the metro Denver area, and the Post, which is delivered statewide, both have circulations of more than 325,000 subscribers. Other newspapers in the state might not have 53

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audiences as diverse as the News and the Post and might not have diversity initiatives in place. Procedure Respondents should receive numbered questionnaires, along with instructions, a consent form and an explanatory letter in a sealed envelope. People who were interested in being interviewed could call the researcher or send a pre-paid postcard, noting a phone number where they could be reached and a time that they were available. Completed questionnaires, along with the consent forms, could be returned to the researcher via a pre-paid addressed envelope. Purposive sampling might then be used to pick 30 to 40 people of varying ethnic backgrounds, genders and job titles for in-depth interviews. Subjects should be allowed to do their interviews at the location of their choice, be it a coffee shop or a company conference room. According to Babbie (1998), interviewees are likely to feel more comfortable and, therefore, more truthful when they are in a familiar setting. The interviews might last 60 to 90 minutes, and data could be obtained by note-taking and recording interviews on tape. Subjects 54

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should not be identified by name, and tapes of the interviews should be stored with the researcher. Terminology The phrase racial preference and affirmative action should not be used interchangeably in this analysis. Each phrase draws different emotional responses (Harris, 1992). Affirmative action in this study refers to the federal policy. The definitions provided by Voakes et al. might be used in the context of diversity. "Source diversity is a dispersion of the representations of affiliations and status positions of sources used to create a news product" (Voakes et al., 1996, p. 584). Source diversity relates to the number of people from underrepresented groups in the industry as well as those used to provide facts for the stories. Source diversity is believed to help the newspaper to reflect its multicultural audience. Content diversity, on the other hand, is the "representation of ideas, perspectives, attributions, opinions or frames within a news product and in the context of one particular issue" (Voakes, et al., 1996, p. 585). Having content diversity means that alternative, even dissident, ideas are represented in the paper. 55

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Research Questions Questionnaires might be modeled after a 1996 study by MORI Research (see Instrument in Appendix B). Questions 1-4, 19, 20, 23 and 24 focus on the respondents' views about opportunities for hiring and promotions. The questions are to get understanding about the impact of resource types on justice perceptions. Distributive justice and procedural justice are factors in the above questions. For example, employment might translate into more money. Recall from a previous section that the amount of a universalistic resource (in this case, money) is more important than how the resource is given. Employment also includes principles of procedural justice since with some jobs come higher levels of prestige, which can be considered a type of particularistic resource. And, as discussed in a previous section, the way particularistic resources are given is more important than an amount of that resource. Questions 3-5 also focus on procedural rules and ask about perceptions of equal treatment. Questions 6-10 ask participants about their views on hiring criteria and whether they believe they are respected by their colleagues. Questions 11-18 were to uncover. about diversity and the newspapers' handling of race-related issues. Questions 23-25 were to show what the subjects believe about their 56

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individual career success. Questions 26 and 27, respectively, ask participants what satisfies them most about their jobs and asks about future plans. In the interview sessions, subjects were to be asked questions about their participation on diversity committees, what they've learned from the committees and how the committees have impacted the newspaper's operation. In regard to the distribution of resources, in this case jobs and/ or promotions, participants will be asked the following: What reward levels would you expect? What reward levels would you be satisfied with? What reward levels would you find perfectly just and fair? Using these three items to measure justice perceptions is believed to yield very different responses (Martin and Murray, 1983). The object was to gather enough data to establish what relationships exist between diversity and its assumed effects. 57

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CHAPTER FOUR RESULTS Newspapers Decline Participation Editors at the Denver Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post received proposals, which conformed to guidelines of the University of Colorado-Denver's Human Subjects Research Committee (see Appendix B). The proposal includes an abstract of the study's purpose and method, a protocol, a consent form and a questionnaire that was to be used to collect data for the study. The protocol explains the specifics of the study. It includes a detailed explanation about the purpose of the research; a description of the subjects to be involved; an overview of the methodology and data disposition; potential benefits and risks of the study; precautions to minimize risks and a description of the method to obtain informed consent. The proposal was reviewed and approved by a faculty advisor, who is to assure that each of the following conditions were met: Research design is clear and appropriate to the discipline. 58

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Subject selection is fair, and subjects are informed as to how they were selected. Recruitment procedures help ensure that subject participation is voluntary. Voluntary participation is explicitly assured. Informed consent procedures are appropriate to subjects. Protection of privacy and/ or confidentiality is adequate. Potential risks (psychological, social, physical, economic, legal) are identified and mitigated. Benefits of research outweigh risks. Consent form/ statement and copies or complete description of research instruments are attached. Human Subjects Protocol is completed fully and correctly. Executives from both newspapers, however, declined to participate in the study. The rest of this work, although speculative, details the method in which the newspapers were contacted and deals with the climate in which the Denver newspapers operate. 59

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CHAPTER FIVE DISCUSSION Denver Rocky Mountain News The News was contacted by phone about the study in December 1997, the same day that the newspaper ran a story about the increase of the minority population in the metro Denver area. I contacted an editor to explain the purpose and description of the study. The editor then asked if I wanted to talk to a lot of minorities. When I said yes, the editor said that the News didn't generally participate in questio:r\naires and that he was very busy. I then decided to wait on mailing the proposal because of the holiday season. I didn't want my proposal to get lost in the shuffle. I contacted one of the editorial department's representatives of the News Diversity Task Force in January 1998. The task force consists of employees in the newspaper's editorial, advertising, circulation and human resources departments. The News prominently displays in its lobby a poster, which has articles about different cultures and photos of the task force members, who are of various ethnic backgrounds. A paper 60

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placard on the poster says that the task force's mission is "to bring about awareness that results in respect and strength from diverse cultures and backgrounds and to promote teamwork and diversity in the workplace, in the product and in the coriununity." Other plaques in the building say that the mission is "to create an environment that enables our coworkers to excel." The representative of the task force expressed interest in doing the study after reviewing the questionnaire and proposal. The person was prepared to make copies of the questionnaire and distribute them right then. I explained that the proposal was still under review by the university, and I was just gauging interest. The person also acknowledged that the newspaper's protocol was to run such projects through the editor. The person added, however, that the editor might decline to participate because competition between the News and the Post was fierce, and both would be concerned about bad publicity as well as negative perceptions about their papers. The person said I should call back in a couple of days. When I did, the person said Robert Burdick, then the News' senior vice president and editor, did not want to participate because Burdick was concerned about privacy issues. The person said I should address those concerns and contact Burdick myself. 61

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I mailed a revised proposal in April to Burdick and asked him to reconsider his decision, pointing out that I'd outlined additional steps to protect the identities of potential participants of the study. The timing was also relevant as the News had done extensive coverage leading up to and during the Denver meeting of the President's Initiative of Race in March 1998. The Denver meetings were punctuated by protests of American Indians who were angry that the Initiative's advisory board didn't have an American Indian representative. The News later wrote an editorial, titled "The Disgrace of Denver," condemning the American Indians' actions. The News described the leader of the protest, an American Indian who is also a professor at the University of Colorado at Denver, and his followers as "A bunch of intolerant thugs masquerading as aggrieved victims [who] refused to allow other people in Denver to exercise their rights" (Denver Rocky Mountain News, 1998a, p. 39A). Prior to the meetings, the News did a weeklong series, called "Race and Reality," which included narratives from present and former employees of the News about their experiences with prejudice and racism. The series conCluded with a special Sunday section about race relations in Denver. The special section included stories about the state's 62

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racial make-up, stories comparing the incomes of minorities and whites, stories about incidents of racism, stories about neighborhood integration, stories about interracial marriages, stories about race as a biological concept. One article was titled "Steps Forward, Steps Back; Denver Makes Strides Toward Equality, but New Challenges Arise, .Old Problems Remain" (Kelly and Hubbard, 1998, p. 2R). Reading such articles, I believed the News might be interested to know how its own employees felt about diversity and race relations among the staff members. I was mistaken. I received a letter from Burdick, declining to do the study. The following is the exact text of the letter, which is dated April22, 1998. The letter was also forwarded to the person I spoke to on the diversity task force. Thank you for writing. However, as [the representative] told you, we will be unable to participate in the project. We cannot check the background and details of every such request, and consequently, we do not participate in any. We appreciate your concern for our co-workers; but I assure you that each has the right to speak up and out (and many do so) without newsroom surveys, whatever the source. We wish you the best in your studies. Sincerely, Robert W. Burdick. 63

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The Denver Post I contacted an editor at The Denver Post in March 1998 to gauge interest. The editor said she'd be extremely busy in the upcoming months because the Post was traveling around the state for its "Snapshots of Colorado" series to get direction on what people wanted to read in the newspaper. She then asked me if I was looking for a specific number of minority employees for the study. "We don't usually give those numbers out," she said. I then told her I was looking for a random sample of the employees in the newspaper's editorial department, and she said she'd get back to me. I mailed the proposal in April1998. The Post editor called me later with questions about how the questionnaires would be distributed. She didn't decline to do the study, but she expressed reservations. She said she didn't know if she could find enough people to participate in the study because it was a busy time for the newspaper. "At this point, I would say I don't think we're going to be able to help you much with this," she said in a phone conversation April 19. "If I could figure out something that I think would work, I'll do it. But I have some real doubts about being able to provide you with what I know you're going to need to have a viable thesis. So I'm sorry to have to tell you that, but I just don't know how to make it so it's going to work for you. Like I said, if I can come up 64

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with anything, I will, but I just don't know where it's going to be at this point. If you think of something, you call me. Believe me, it's not that I don't want to help. It's just that I don't want to get you so far down the road that you end up with a mess on your hands and not enough people to complete it." I later contacted the Post editor and said I didn't expect her to find people for me and that I would leave one numbered copy of the questionnaire in each of the employees' mailboxes in the newsroom. Those who wanted to participate could, and those who didn't want to participate wouldn't have to. People could sign a card or call me if they wanted to do an interview. The editor, however, declined to participate in a letter, which is dated May 28, 1998. Thank you for your recent letter about the surveys for a research study. I am sympathetic to your situation, but I do not wish to include The Denver Post newsroom in such research at this time. I would suggest that you try a newspaper such as the Colorado Springs Gazette or the Fort Collins Coloradoan. Understand that I wish you all the best, but it simply is an inopportune time to be doing this at The Denver Post. Sincerely, Jeanette M. Chavez. The Spiral of Silence in Motion One can only speculate about why the editors at the News and the Post declined to participate in this study, but the newspaper war sheds some light on why the editors might have decided against taking part in this work. A representative on the News' diversity task force predicted 65

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that executives at his paper might not want to participate because of competition between the News and the Post. The fear of isolation6 sets the spiral of silence in motion (Noelle-Neumann, 1984), and isolation would mean the demise of a newspaper. Other authors (Barringer, 1998; Fitzgerald, 1998; Solomon, 1998) find that some newspapers also suffer from "diversity fatigue;" in other words, newspaper executives are tired of talking about it. It is hard to believe that executives at the Post and the News were worried about their employees expressing too many positive comments. Bad publicity is probably a concern for both papers as each fights daily for potential subscribers, and each paper gets plenty of knocks from other newspapers in town. Admittedly, some of the issues to be discussed in this study-hiring, promotions and affirmative action-are hotbutton topics. It is, therefore, not naive to say that News' and the Post's executives might have been anxious about what their employees might divulge and how those disclosures might have been interpreted-even if that information might have been to the benefit of the respective papers. We can only guess that the potential costs of this study outweighed any benefits that the papers believed they could attain. 6 The fear of isolation is the belief that people will disapprove of one's opinions. This concept will be 66

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Robert Burdick of the News said he did not want to participate because he "cannot check the background and details of every such request [to do newsroom studies]," but Burdick, as per the CU-Denver Human Subjects Research Committee, was provided detailed information about the purpose and protocol for the study (see Appendix B). Jeanette Chavez of the Post said she would not participate because "it simply [was] an inopportune time .... "Interestingly, Chavez notified me of her decision, in the form of written correspondence, seven days after another Denver newspaper came out with an article that ridiculed the Post's "Snapshots of Coloradd' series and the low turnout of people to one of its town meetings. Westword The "Snapshots of Colorado" series was one of the Post's efforts to understand what its readers wanted to read. Editors and reporters from the Post availed themselves to town meetings to field and ask questions of the public. In an effort to understand what was happening at those meetings, Ward Harkavy, then Westward's associate editor, went further explained in an upcoming section. 67

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undercover to a May 1998 town meeting in Colorado Springs. Harkavy disguised himself as "Martin L. Roberts, a management consultant who was home-schooling his children, the oldest of whom Ezekiel (we call him 'Zeke') was 13 and wanted to be a journalist but thought the Post was too liberal while [Harkavy] liked the Post" (Harkavy, 1998, p. 17). Harkavy went on to say that "fewer than 10 people had shown up! Out of a city of 300,000" (p. 17)! He also had his picture taken with editors and reporters from the Post who posed in front of Harkavy's hand-made signs, which said "Keep up the work, Post!" and "I get my news from the Post!" Harkavy even got one reporter to autograph a copy of the Post for his fictitious son, Zeke. Harkavy basically made fools of them and proclaimed that he'd "diddled The Denver Post .... [T]here was no affection. Just Find 'em, fool'em and forget 'em" (Harkavy, 1998, p. 17). Both the News and the Post are subject to such taunts almost weekly in Westward, the most popular weekly alternative newspaper in the metro-Denver area with a circulation of 120,000. Alternative newspapers, born in the 1800s and revived in the 1960s, "felt that the mainstream press was avoiding important issues" (Biagi, 1996, p. 62). Westward, as a result, pursues stories that the mainstream papers don't 68

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have the time or inclinatio!l to do, and Westword prides itself by poking fun at Denver's daily newspapers. Westword writes about the Post's and the News' missteps and their staffers' foibles. Westword published -stories about a reporter at the Post who was arrested and subsequently pleaded guilty to having sex with a 14-year-old girl he'd met in an Internet chat room. It also reported the arrests of a columnist at the Post for driving while intoxicated (Westword, 1998c) and a columnist at the News who'd been accused of domestic violence by his ex-wife. In one article, Patricia Calhoun, the editor of Westword, wrote about an employee at the News who was demoted for plagiarism and was later fired for a writing a parody of a column by one of the News' columnists (Calhoun, 1997). Calhoun, in that same article, also disclosed a plan by the News to "spy on its staffers through their computer files" (Calhoun, 1997) although the Denver Newspaper Guild; a union that represents workers in the newspaper industry, ultimately foiled that plan. All of the following items about Denver's daily newspapers appeared in Westward's "Off Limits" section, a collection of briefs about everything from political figures to business dealings: Westword reported on The Denver Post's plan to use a seating chart for daily meetings (Westword, 1998a) and the News' new accuracy policy, which Westword said "is unlikely to stop such 69

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colossal miscues as the AprillO [1998] headline that appeared during one of the most sacred Jewish holidays: 'Rabbi sees Passover spirit in oven"' (Westword, 1998b). Westword also questioned The Denver Post's coverage of the arrest of one its reporters in connection with a sex crime. Westword said the story had "been largely ignored .... Though Westword and [Denver television station KCNC] Channel 4 have run stories on the reporter's arrest -and the Rocky Mountain News printed a full-length story after [the reporter's] guilty pleathe Post's coverage has consisted of a two-paragraph blurb at the bottom of [a] Metro Digest ... (Westword, 1998c). Two weeks later, Westword (1998d) reported that the story of the Post's reporter had gone national with Editor & Publisher, a wellknown journalism trade publication also wondering why the Post buried the story. Westword also ridiculed a News columnist who Westword said got his ideas from a bartender at the Denver Press Club, a bar frequented by staffers from area newspapers. "Maybe he was embarrassed about the fact that the column was the second one he's written in the past few months about the trials and tribulations of a Press Club booze-slinger .... At least [the columnist] didn't confuse his bartender with an inanimate object, the way he did in a recent column about witnessing a traffic accident firsthand. In that unforgettable opus, [the columnist] told readers about the horror of seeing a woman go flying through the windshield of her minivan only to report a few days later that, in fact, it was a car door that he'd seen rocketing though the night" (Westword, 1998d). Westword also questioned both newspapers' interpretations of circulation figures, which are key in determining which of the two is winning Denver's newspaper war. Westword reported that an executive at the Post, who also owned newspapers in California, had been taken to court for overstating circulation figures there (Westword, 1998e). Two months later, Westword focused on the Denver papers and said each "carried the predictable creative-writing exercises describing the latest circulation figures. The Denver Post focused on its ten-year 70

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growth pattern; the Rocky Mountain News touted a recent growth spurt that was seven times that of the Post" (Westword, 1998f). Westword, the following week, derided the News' decision to change its name to the Denver Rocky Mountain News. The News said it wanted to add "Denver" to its name to reflect that it was Denver's paper, considering the latest circulation numbers. But Westword also said the newspaper also showed "its general stinginess to employees. A day later, the News proved it could have its cake and eat it, too, when members of the Denver Newspaper Guild, which represents editorial and circulation employees, among others, approved a three-year News contract that raises wages 2 percent the first raise workers at this paper ... have seen in two years" (Westivord, 1998g). Westword also reported that the Post's publisher had donated $500 to Republican Gov.-elect Bill Owens' campaign, which Westword speculated had influenced the Post's decision to endorse Owens for governor (Westword, 1998g). That move shocked many of the Post's readers, who believed that the Post was traditionally more liberal than the News, including outgoing Gov. Roy Romer, a Democrat, who wrote a letter to the editor in the Oct. 31, 1998, edition of the Post, questioning that endorsement. Even when Westword complimented the News on its coverage of the November elections, Westword took a stab at the News for its coverage of a new shopping center in downtown Denver. "The Denver Rocky Mountain News (soon to be renamed the 'Denver Pavilions Rocky Mountain News,' judging from the coverage given the second coming of retail to downtown) won the election night battle of the presses, with a November 4 [1998] paper announcing that 'Owens wins at wire' while the Post was still headlining a 'neck-and-neck' race. But the News' efforts would have been more laudatory had the paper updated its Web site ... (Westword, 1998h). But Westword isn't the only one that takes digs at the dailies. The News and the Post also stab at each other. The most diplomatic jeers are 71

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contained within stories about awards that each newspaper receives and stories about gains in circulation, subscribers or new business partnerships. In March 1997, the Post and the News traded punches about the other's interpretation and reporting on circulation numbers. The Post ran an article on March 1, 1997, saying that the News revised its report to correct 495 reporting errors that included overstating some county circulation figures by 30 percent (Meyers, 1997). The News (1997) counterattacked the following day with an article accusing the Post of also overstating its numbers. The Audit Bureau of Circulations ended up scolding both newspapers for the articles (Prendergast, 1997b). Considering compliments, the News praised its staff members for honors in writing and photography in a May 1998 article but also pointed out that it won more awards than the Post. The News won 39 awards, including 15 for first place in the 1997 contest for the stories for the state's other newspapers with circulations exceeding 100,000. The Denver Post finished second with 35 awards, including 10 first prizes. The results give the News a sweep of the state's major journalism competitions this year. Earlier the News won the general excellence award in both the Colorado Associated Press and Colorado Press Association Contests. (Denver Rocky Mountain News, 1998b, p. 7 A) The News now boasts daily on its front page that is has won the "Most awards in Colorado for the fourth straight year." 72

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The Fear of Isolation Public opinion becomes increasingly important as the Denver newspapers posture for the top spot in the city's newspaper war. NoelleNeumann (1984) says the "spiral of silence is a reaction to openly visible approval and disapproval among shifting constellations of values" (p. 64). Noelle-Neumann also says that public opinion acts as a social skin and that the social nature of human beings is to seek acceptance. To be disliked, in today's society, is the equivalent of being a leper, and few actively seek to be perceived as such, she says. The fear of isolation concept is especially relevant in the news industry. The industry requires its workers to be in tune with public opinion and to have the public praise them. Reporters and columnists want to have a loyal following; it is a measure of the writers', as well as the newspaper's, success. Positive public opinion also can mean an increase in circulation numbers, and as a newspaper touts its success, more people could jump on the bandwagon. Other researchers write that "bandwagon effects occur when people begin to favor what they perceive to be the winning side of an issue in order to benefit from the social rewards of aligning oneself with a victor" (Eveland, McLeod and Signorielli, 1995, p. 93). 73

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Still, it is difficult to determine how much impact negative articles in Westword might have on daily newspapers' subscribers. We'd first have to know how many people would or did cancel their subscriptions after learning that one of the newspapers employed an accused wife-beater; that another newspaper once employed a man who pleaded guilty to having sex with a minor (that reporter ultimately resigned and was sentenced to 90 days in jail and probation). We'd also have to know whether subscribers believed either newspaper was insensitive to different social groups and whether subscribers thought it unethical that a newspaper executive, who can determine what stories are published, donated money to a political campaign and whether that contribution influenced the paper's coverage of that political issue. Another reason the Denver newspaper executives might have declined to take part in this work is that they might have feared that their words would be used against them. Journalists usually aid the formation of public opinion by what is and isn't in the paper. For the sake of a "good story," news writers sometimes leave out what others might consider to be pertinent information. In other words, reporters and editors sometimes put their own spins on an issue, despite the perception that news stories are to be objective and free of bias. This, 74

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according to Noelle-Neumann, is why people often feel helpless when they are chosen as subjects for stories produced by the media. This powerlessness is expressed in two ways. This first occurs when a_person tries to gain public attention ... and the media, in their selection process, choose not to give that person attention. The same thing occurs if there are unsuccessful efforts to gain public attention for an idea, a piece of information or a perspective .... The second aspect of this powerlessness comes into play when the media are used as a pillory; when they draw faceless public attention to an individual who is surrendered to them as a scapegoat to be "exhibited." [The person] cannot defend himself [or herself]; [the person] cannot deflect the slings and arrows. The means of rebuttal are grotesque in their comparative weakness, in their awkwardness compared to the polished objectivity of the media. (Noelle-Neumann, 1984, p. 155) Knowing this, perhaps it isn't surprising that the Denver newspaper executives might be more cautious than average individuals would be in offering themselves as subjects in a study. Noelle-Neumann says those who submit to the media's wiles without understanding how the media work are "putting their heads into the jaws of a tiger" (p. 155). Something happens when are put in print, even when those words could be wrong or there is more to the story. Newspaper executives know this. The Denver newspaper executives' denial to do this study is a type of damage control. They don't want potential flaws to be revealed. It might mean a loss of subscribers. 75

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The Denver Newspaper War Media watchers have been predicting the demise of one of the Denver newspapers for more than a decade. The Denver Rocky Mountain News and The Denver Post have been duking it out for at least 100 years, and each newspaper has enjoyed the lead at one time or another. At present, however, the Post and the News appear to be running neck and neck. According to figures filed with the Audit Bureau of Circulations, a company that monitors circulation numbers, from March to September 1998, the News' daily circulation was 331,978 and its Sunday circulation was 432,931; the Post's daily circulation was 341,554 and its Sunday circulation was 484,657. The numbers above show that the Post leads the News by about 9,500 in daily sales and about 50,000 in Sunday sales, but the News interpreted the numbers as a victory. The News boasted in an October 1998 article that it had increased its daily circulation seven times faster than its competitor because the News had gained 29,025 daily, while the Post only added 4,182 (Denver Rocky Mountain News, 1998c). The News also improved its Sunday circulation numbers from the previous year. '"Clearly, this is a testament that we dominate the Front Range,' publisher Larry Strutton said. 'The numbers underscore the success of our Front Range Plus plan in which we 76

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provide service to reader in the areas of advertisers need"' (Denver Rocky Mountain News, 1998c). The delivery areas differ for each paper. The Post is available all over Colorado, as well as parts of Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Kansas and Nebraska; the News only delivers to 13 counties in the state. The News decided to pull back deliveries from the rest of the state in spring 1996, a tactic referred to as the Front Range Plus plan. Media pundits were sure that the News would soon fold after this move; the Post's circulation quickly surged ahead by picking up the subscribers that the News had dropped. The News' retreat from the rest of the state was seen as a sign of financial instability. Indeed, finances were part of the News' decision to pull back. Linda Sease, the News' marketing and public relations vice president, said the paper was losing money by delivering papers to people outside of the metro Denver area; the News was paying $35 to print and deliver the papers to people outside of metro Denver, while those subscribers paid only $4.75 per month for the paper (Prendergast, 1997b). One of the top executives said "dumping statewide circulation would save his operation approximately $10 million per year" (Prendergast, 1997b, p. 8). The executives at the News then surmised that people who lived in the state's outskirts didn't spend 77

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much money in Denver business establishments, provide the bulk of the advertising dollars for both papers (Prendergast, 1997b, p. 5). Prendergast (1997b) explains the News' decision to pull back its circulation this way -"Slamming the door on readers outside the Front Range was simply an acknowledgment of one of the cold facts of the newspaper business: Readers are only important to the extent that they can attract advertising, the primary revenue stream" (p. 5). The Denver Post now might be in the same position as the News once was, losing money by delivering to far off places, but the Post might be unable to drop those subscribers because the race for the top is too close. Subscriber rates contribute little to newspapers' total revenue. Advertising takes up 66 to 70 percent of most newspapers (Biagi, 1996), and advertisers pay hundreds to thousands of dollars for space in the newspaper. In the early 1990s, people used to talk of the day when the Internet and online news services would take over newspapers. The same discussions occurred years ago when televisions became more affordable, but newspapers are still a favorite because advertisers can reach large, diverse groups of people. Still, the advertisements in the Post and the News don't really depict diversity, aside from occasional pictures of models who are minorities (Most of the models in 78

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department store ads, for example, are white.). The ads are targeted toward middle class homeowners and businesses. Both the Post and the News feature prominent twoto six-page spreads from grocery stores; department stores, such as Dillard's and Foley's; furniture stores, such as American Furniture Warehouse, Bedroom Expressions and Oak Express; and from liquor warehouses. The rest of the ads, spread out over the business, sports, lifestyles and entertainment sections hawk home improvement services; cheap airfares; beauty salons, products and services; Internet providers and phone services; office supplies; sporting goods and strip bars. Denver is one of few cities with two independent competing daily newspapers. Other cities that have been able to sustain independent operations are major metropolitans, such as Los Angeles, Washington DC, New York, Chicago, Miami, Boston and Pittsburgh (see Separate Ownership, Appendix C). Newspapers in other cities work under Joint Operating Agreements, or JOAs (see Joint Operating Agreements, Appendix C), or they are managed by the same owner (see Common Ownership, Appendix C). JOAs created alliances in multi-newspaper cities when executives found that the market could not support two independent operations. Newspapers under a JOA share most resources, 79

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such as advertising and marketing strategies, but have different editorial policies so they can reach different members of the community and stand out from each other. In Denver, Scripps Howard, once referred to as a "Fortune 500 behemoth" by a former editor at the Post, owns the Denver Rocky Mountain News; Media News Group owns The Denver Post. As part of the Scripps Howard chain, the News has solid financial backing, which might have helped the News' saturation of the Denver market and contribute to its ability to reinvent itself. For example, the News in 1998 paid $500,000, beating out the Post to be the official sponsor of Jefferson County schools, the largest school district in Colorado. This sponsorship gives the News the right to advertise in the district's stadiums and gymnasiums, to make special deals with the parents and students in the district and to participate in school fundraising projects. As part of the deal, the News also said it would provide speakers for high school graduation ceremonies, as well as mentors for the district's student reporters and critiques of school newspapers (Steers, 1998). The News also has sponsorships or owns part of the Colorado Rockies, a professional baseball team; Colorado's Ocean Journey, a marine park in 80

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downtown Denver; arid Elitch Gardens, a local amusement park that recently joined the Six Flags theme park corporation. The News from 1997 to 1999 also added or expanded several sections in its paper. The sports department has special sections dedicated to the Denver Broncos, high school sports, motor sports and baseball. The business department has "Mile High Tech," a section focusing on the latest developments in technology; "Careers," which contains tips on how to land jobs and stories about companies that are hiring; and "Wall Street West," which has stories about investing, Colorado companies and other business leaders. The lifestyles and entertainment department redesigned its "Weekend" section, which contains reviews of movies, restaurants and plays. The lifestyles department debuted a section on fashion coverage, called "Mile High Style," and it added "Home Front," which has "remodeling and interior design tips and begging for ads from developers and home-furnishing stores" (Prendergast, 1997d, p. 5). The sections not only give more options to advertisers, but they are also an attempt to attract and keep new subscribers. Readership studies show that teen-agers and women are less likely to read newspapers than are men, which is why several newspapers now offer 81

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sections that are supposed to appeal to women and youth. The News and the Post also carry weekly children's pages with the hope that the children will grow up to be future subscribers or at least encourage their parents to buy the paper. The Post over the last few years hasn't done much in redesigns, except for its weekend entertainment section, which was renamed "The Scene." The Post only dedicates certain pages in different sections to keep up with the News. One standout is the Post's "Focus" page, a weekly feature in its sports section that focuses on female athletes, which hit stands in 1996. Morale at the Post has plummeted since the introduction of Dennis Britton, the Post's editor in chief, in early 1996. Britton, who has worked at the Chicago Sun-Times and the Los Angeles Times, replaced Neil Westergaard, a popular editor who was said to have good relationships with the staff (Prendergast, 1997c). Britton's strategy for the Post was to focus on more positive stories; Britton believed people in Colorado wanted more news about how great it was to live in the state, and about violence, death and mayhem. In one case, when mayhem did occur, the Post mentioned it as an afterthought, which gave the impression that the newspaper was behind the times. The Post has had a few clunkers in its quest for happy news, such as a front-page story about a party at McNichols Arena [in March 82

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1997] to reward middle-school students for regular attendance and good grades. The celebration ended in brawls in the parking lot involving up to 200 youths, a detail that was buried deep in the Post's story. The News skipped the congratulations and covered the ruckus (A fuller account of the fights ran in the Post the following day.). (Prendergast, 1997c, p. 6). One of the tenets of journalism is to get as much of a story out as soon as possible, but the Post didn't do that. Britton later conceded that the Post missed that story. The Post also fell behind with its coverage of the November 1998 elections. Not only did the News beat the Post on Nov. 4, the day after the elections, by announcing that Bill Owens had been elected governor (The Post reported that the governor's race hadn't been decided as the newspaper went to press.}, but the News also reported results for areas that were outside of its circulation area. The News had county-by-county results for the state's many ballot issues and major races, analysis articles about the impact of the turnouts, and it included results of congressional races for all SO states. The Post came out with a more detailed issue about the elections in its Nov. 5, 1998, issue, but the News also followed-up with more on the impacts of the elections and the plans of elected officials. 83

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Britton is now the butt of jokes. Some of his critics have even created a Web page, the "Dennis Britton GoHome Page" (http:/ /members.aol.com/empirvoic/dennispage.html) where current and former colleagues jeer Britton for what they call his lapses in journalism judgment? The Web page has a clock that counts the days until Britton leaves the Post (His contract expires some time in 1999.), and it has an area called ''The Dennis Britton Roll Call of Embarrassments," which pokes fun at Britton for almost running a story about an award he'd won from what turned out to be a nonexistent group and which also questions the editor's ethics. The Web page says Britton suggested that reporters offer bribes to get information from hotel staffers serving world leaders in Denver for the Summit of the Eight in 1997, and it speaks of Britton smuggling a camera into an exclusive reception where cameras weren't allowed. Britton was caught and almost lost the Post's press credentials, which would have banned staff members from covering upcoming summit meetings. Britton, however, isn't the only one attracting attention for questionable decisions. Post publisher Gerald Grilly, hired in late 1998, is 7 It should be noted, however, that one person posted a message on the Britton GoHome page that said life at the News wasn't always peaches and cream and that the News could also provide plenty of material for a hate page. 84

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alleged to have pulled a story about an influential banking firm, Coldwell Banker Moore, when the company threatened to take away advertising and give it to the competition. A representative of Coldwell made the same offer to the News, but the News opted to run the story. That the Post didn't run the story and that Grilly, according to one insider, called his contacts at Coldwell to ask for 100 percent of its advertising raised questions about the newspaper's management and practices. Others said that the paper resorted to such desperate measures was a sign that the end was near. Dean Singleton, an executive of Media News Group, which owns the Post, is said to have "a reputation of extracting the last drop of profit from an operation and then closing up shop" (Prendergast, 1997c, p. 2). If the newspaper were working toward shutting its doors or revising policy, executives might have been reluctant to take part in the study for fear that their strategies might be revealed. Diversity Fatigue With the emphasis on circulation numbers, saving face and appeasing advertisers, perhaps diversity has taken a back seat. Although we can't be certain what is happening at the Denver newspapers, other 85

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newspaper executives and editors have complained of diversity fatigue, a much different story compared to 20 years ago. Back in 1978, the American Society of Newspaper Editors set a goal to have the minority employment at newspaper match that of the United States population by 2000 or sooner. Back then, minorities made up 4 percent of all newspaper staffers. Newspapers have since tripled the number of minorities on staff to a little more than 11 percent, but ASNE "proposed that the self-imposed deadline be rolled back and the time-frame be adjusted to become what one editor called 'ambitious but realistic"' (Barringer, 1998, p. 1). ASNE realized that it was not going to reach its goal because it had underestimated the number of minorities that would be in America. "ASNE adopted the goal in 1978 when people of color made up about 13 percent of the U.S. population and were expected to grow to just 15 percent by 2000. Instead, the minority population zoomed to 24 percent in 1997 and is expected to be closer to 30 percent [by the end of the century]" (Fitzgerald, 1998, p. 14). Minority groups, upon hearing ASNE's proposal, were frustrated and said newspapers weren't trying hard enough to find qualified minority employees. Norman Solomon, a syndicated columnist, expressed cynicism about ASNE's call to refocus its goal and said the 86

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proposal was a mistake. But Solomon (1998) also conceded that times have changed. After many years of bashing from pundits and politicians, affirmative action is on the ropes. One result: In California, state university campuses saw a sharp drop in applications and admission of black and Latino students (Solomon, 1998). Media executives counter, however, that some minorities aren't attracted to the news industry as others were in years past and that more minorities were pursuing more profitable professions. "The figures of the Newspaper Guild show that the average experienced reporter's top minimum salary after five years of work is $724 a week, or less than $40,000 a year -below the starting salary in many law firms, software publishers or brokerage houses" (Barringer, 1998, p. 3) Minorities and white women, the so-called beneficiaries of affirmative action, are also calling foul. Lynch (1991) points out that some white men support families, wives, sons and daughters who also feel the bite when their husband/father loses a job to a minority, which, in tum, increases the ranks of those who oppose affirmative action. Minorities have also stated their opposition for affirmative action because, they say, the measure tension and a lack of acceptance from their white colleagues, who sometimes believe minorities are only 87

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hired because of their race and not because of skill. "Kevin O'Hanlon, a reporter at the Cincinnati Enquirer [in 1992], says, 'When a new black reporter comes into the newsroom I'm sure there are some people think they would like to see his resume"' (Simurda, 1992, p. 19). It is unclear, however, what the climate might be among reporters in Denver. The News has written editorials in support of eliminating affirmative action, while a former colleague of Post editor Britton on the "GoHome" page says that Britton has been unfair to white men. "In Chicago," the reporter writes, "Britton's favorite target was a mid-career reporter-preferably a white male. I'm guessing here, but how many middle-aged white guys have been driven out of your paper in Denver? Many, perhaps?" Unfortunately, we won't find out in this study. Review The purpose of this study was to outline diversity initiatives at The Denver Post and the Denver Rocky Mountain News and to detail the impact of such initiatives on the newspapers' operations. Given the ethnic make-up of most newspaper staffs, I wanted to know whether the ethnic groups at the Denver newspapers believed their voices were represented in discussions about diversity, whether staffers believed their newspapers were doing all that was possible to find qualified 88

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minority employees and whether certain methods to increase the number of minorities on staff were believed to be necessary. Richard and Kirby (1997) found that people who disagree that a need exists for diversity drives are unlikely to support such initiatives. Executives at the Post and the News, however, were reluctant to discuss their diversity policies in detail and to disclose the number of minorities on staff. Insiders say that most of the people on staff at the News and the Post are white men and that few minorities are in decision-making positions as editors. The top executives at both newspapers are mostly white males. Literature shows differing opinions about diversity and how it is defined. Some authors attribute the distention about diversity to a lack of communication and understanding about such initiatives. Practices to attract minorities, such job fairs and scholarships programs, have served dual purposes. They have helped to boost minority numbers, but they have also alienated some white people in the industry and have curtailed communication. Swanston (1995) says newspaper executives are partly to blame for the backlash against diversity drives because white men have been led to believe that their opinions aren't welcome in the diversity discussion. Swanston says not allowing white men to 89

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discuss their feelings about such policies will only lead to their demise because white men are most likely to decide what direction their newspapers will take to diversify. Why did the Denver newspapers decline to participate in this study? We can only guess. Bad publicity and the fear of isolation could be key concerns. One newspaper in town, Westword, constantly criticizes the News and the Post; therefore, the editors at the papers might have believed that this study would be used against them. Several other factors might also be considered: Perhaps the executives believed that they hadn't tried hard enough to boost their ranks. Perhaps they believed the steps they had taken had hindered more than it helped them. Maybe they don't have many minorities on their staffs and were worried about how that would be interpreted. That the executives declined to participate raises several questions. When a source is reluctant to talk about certain subjects, it raises red flags in most reporters' minds. Reporters will tell sources that it's better to discuss a subject than to decline comment. People will want to know what the source is hiding. 90

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Limitations The most obvious limitation of this study is that data could not be obtained. One requirement for this study was for the newspaper executives to send written correspondence that they'd received information about the study's purpose and protocol and that they agreed to those terms. The editors did not want to give that consent, although some people who learned of the study were interested in participating. I thought I would find the opposite-that some individuals would spiral into silence about their views on diversity, not that the newspapers would decline to participate. Both newspapers portray that they are making great strides in this area; they might have more to gain than to lose with whatever information was disclosed. The findings might have confirmed that the newspapers are doing an excellent job, or the findings might have suggested that newspaper executives need to better define their initiatives, that they should eliminate some polices, or include more people in the diversity discussion. Executives might have found that they should boost minority numbers (if believed necessary) or that they should refocus their goals. The Denver Rocky Mountain News circulated a special section in its Feb. 21, 1999, issue, which stated the newspaper's commitment to the 91

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diverse community of Denver. "In Touch With Our Community: Denver Rocky Mountain News 1998 Annual Report to the Community," produced by the News' marketing division and circulated during Black History Month, talks about the contributions that the newspaper has made to several Denver charities. The News also spoke of its Minority Journalism Scholarship program and its commitment to the arts, civics, diversity, education and literacy, health and social services, youth development and recycling. "We have provided support to strengthen our community's culture, to enhance the lives of youth and to improve environment," says the section's introduction. "As a high profile business and communications leader in the metro area, we embrace our responsibility to the community, not only as a corporation, but as a tightly-knit group of employees and loyal readers who have made these contributions possible." If that is so, why not do the study? Suggestions for Future Research The Denver daily newsrooms are shrouded in secrecy, so it is difficult to suggest future areas of research within the newsroom. One possibility might be to pitch this study in another two-newspaper town to find out if a newspaper war could impact the decision to participate in 92

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this study. There are several possibilities for studies in the community. One might be to explore how negative articles about daily newspapers impact the readership. We have seen both Denver daily newspapers beaten up over their editorial decisions as well as their staffers' legal problems. It would be interesting to find out whether such problems cause people to cancel subscriptions and how the newspapers would respond to those cancellations. It might also be interesting to find out how the spiral of silence impacted the media's coverage of President Clinton's impeachment trial and how the public formed its opinion on the issue as a result of that coverage. Biagi (1996) also spoke of the spiral of silence and the media's effect on the formation of public opinion. "The implication for future research will be to ask whether the media neutralize dissent and a pattern of social and cultural conformity" (p. 287). Unfortunately, this research takes place outside of editorial offices, and several studies have already been done to illustrate media impacts on society. What hasn't been done is a study on how the media impacts the media. This study should be completed. It is modeled after one by The Associated Press Managing Editors Association, which included the opinions of staff members on 15 newspapers around the nation. The 93

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APME study found that whites and minorities had opposite opinions in several areas, including their paper's coverage of minority communities, whether minorities and whites have equal chances for promotions, and whether minorities and whites were held to similar performance standards, whether diversity has been overemphasized. Do staffers at Denver newspapers feel the same way? We may never know. 94

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APPENDIX A REQUESTING PARTICIPATION John Temple managing editor Rocky Mountain News 400 W. Colfax Ave. Denver, Colo. 80204 Dec. 17, 1997 Dear Mr. Temple, First letter to the News [researcher's address and phone number] My name is Claudia Hibbert-BeDan, and I am a graduate student at the University of Colorado at Denver. I plan to complete my studies in May 1998. I am writing this letter seeking your help for my master's thesis in sociology. My bachelor's degree, which I earned in 1995, was in journalism. In my studies, the topic diversity was mentioned as a sidenote. However, I have read that diversity issues are becoming a hot topic, especially as the Supreme Court might soon be reevaluating the concept of affirmative action. I worked briefly at the Rocky Mountain News, and I remember seeing postings for a diversity task force. There was a representative in every department of the newspaper. I would like to interview some members of your editorial staff to ask questions about diversity issues at your newspaper. My thesis advisor tells me I should probably start my interviews in early February. Hopefully by then, everyone will have recuperated from the holiday season. 95

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I am writing this early so you can mull this over. I have submitted my proposal for my research project to the UCD Human Research Committee. This proposal, which completely explains my objective and method of study, must be approved by the committee before I do anything. I just wanted to know, in advance, if I would be allowed to interview some members of your staff for the purposes of my research. I would appreciate it if you could let me know as soon as possible if I will or will not be allowed interviews with your staff. I have attached the abstract from my proposal and a letter that explains my study's focus for potential participants of my study. I hope to hear from you soon. Thank you for your time, 96

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[diversity task force rep] Rocky Mountain News 400 W. Colfax Ave. Denver, Colo. 80204 Jan. 15, 1998 Dear Second letter to the News [researcher's address and phone number] Thank you for taking the time to talk to me about my research study. Attached, you should have the abstract from my proposal, a letter for potential participants of my study and the consent form. These items explain my purpose and my method for completing the research. I asked to speak with you because I heard you were part of the newsroom's diversity task force. I want to do my study with the Rocky Mountain News because literature suggests that newspapers in metropolitan areas with a large circulation employ more -minorities than smaller dailies. In 1993, the News ranked 24th out of 50 papers for having one of the highest percentages of minorities in the newsroom. In the early 1990s, several corporations cited a need to diversifynewspapers were one of them. According to literature I've read, this push to diversify and hire minorities instead of whites has created tension among some co-workers. The purpose of my study is to find out the impact of "diversifying" strategies at your newspaper, as well as the editorial staff members' opinions about the practice. My study was modeled after one commissioned by The Associated Press Managing Editors Association in September 1996. Information for my study will be obtained from a questionnaire and interviews. I have submitted the proposal for my research project to the UCD Human Research Committee. This proposal, which completely explains my objective and method of study, must be approved by the committee before I do anything. 97

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I just wanted to meet with you to explain my objective, and, perhaps, get some advice on how to approach your co-workers about my study. Please feel free to contact me at the above phone number if you have any further questions. . Thank you for your time, 98

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Jeanette Chavez managing editor The Denver Post 1560 Broadway Denver, Colo. 80202 April 6, 1998 Dear Ms. Chavez, First letter to the Post [researcher's address and phone number] My name is Claudia Hibbert-BeDan, and I am a graduate student at the University of Colorado at Denver. I plan to complete my studies in August 1998. I spoke with you at the end of March seeking help with my master's thesis in sociology. I am doing a research study about diversity in the newsroom, and my project is modeled after one commissioned by The Associated Press Managing Editors Association in September 1996. The project includes two phases: a short questionnaire and interviews with a few members of your editorial staff. This research is important to the field of sociology in the area of justice theory. I am looking at the effect of resource types (jobs, money, status) on how people perceive what is fair. The findings might also be useful for newspaper executives as they map out plans for future hiring and promotions. The research might also be beneficial for your company as it provides an opportunity for people to express how they think your company treats its employees. I attended the President's Initiative on Race discussions March 23 and 24 at the Auraria Campus and realized how important it is to allow all people to talk about issues surrounding race. My project provides that opportunity. 99

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I have submitted a proposal for my project to the UCD Human Research Committee. The proposal, which completely explains my objective and method of study, must be approved by the committee before I do anything. I have attached the protocol for my proposal, a letter that explains the study's focus for potential participants of my study and a copy of the questionnaire. This research project is the last requirement I need to fulfill to earn my degree. And I need your permission before I can begin. I hope to hear from you soon. Thank you for your time, 100

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Bob Burdick editor Rocky Mountain News 400 W. Colfax Ave. Denver, Colo. 80204 April 20, 1998 Dear Mr. Burdick, Third letter to the News [researcher's address and phone number] My name is Claudia Hibbert-BeDan, and I am a graduate student at the University of Colorado at Denver. I spoke with Mike Pearson in January about a newsroom diversity study that I'm working on to earn my master's thesis in sociology. [The diversity task force rep] called me shortly after our meeting and told me that you didn't want to participate in the study because you were concerned about confidentiality, especially how identities of participants would be concealed. I have addressed these concerns, as required by the Human Subjects Research Committee at my school, and hope that you will reconsider your decision. The study is modeled after one commissioned by The Associated Press Managing Editors Association in September 1996. 'fhe research might also be beneficial for your company as it provides an opportunity for people to express their opinions about their jobs and how they are treated. I attended President Clinton's Initiative on Race discussions March 23 and 24 at the Auraria Campus and saw how important it is to allow people to talk about certain issues. My project provides that opportunity. The research is also important to the field of sociology in the area of justice theory. I am looking at the effect of resource types (jobs, money, status) on how people perceive what is fair. The findings might 101

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also be useful for newspaper executives as they map out plans for future hiring and promotions. The Human Subjects Research Committee requires me to get your permission to conduct the study before I submit my proposal. It explains my objectiye and method of study, and it must be approved by the committee before I do anything. I have attached the protocol for my proposal, a letter for potential participants and a copy of the questionnaire. This research project is the last requirement I need to fulfill to earn my degree. And I need your permission before I can begin. I hope to hear from you soon. Thank you for your time, 102

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Jeanette Chavez managing editor The Denver Post 1560 Broadway Denver, Colo. 80202 May20,1998 Second letter to the Post [researcher's address and phone number] re: how to distribute questionnaires for research study Dear Ms. Chavez, Last month when we spoke you had questions about how I wanted to distribute the questionnaires for my study. You said you weren't comfortable with me leaving a stack in your office, so I've come up with another idea. I left you a message about it after we spoke, but I know you've been busy. I wonder if I could put questionnaires in the staff members' mailboxes in the office. In a sealed envelope, each person would get one questionnaire, instructions and a letter that explains everything, along with a self-addressed stamped envelope. The address on the envelopes will be printed in a hard-to-find font, and the questionnaires will be printed. on thesis bond paper, which is embossed with my school's seal, so I can identify questionnaires that might be invalid. The questionnaires will also be numbered in a way that I will be able to identify and throw out duplicates. For the interviews, people will be asked in a letter if they can commit to an interview. I do not expect you to set these up for me. If people can do interviews, I will ask them to provide a telephone number where they can be reached to set up a time and place. This way 103

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staff members can set up times that don't interrupt their schedules; I'll work around them. I would only come to the office once to distribute one round of questionnaires -and hope that people will fill them out and return them. After a couple of weeks, depending on the number I get back, I might ask to send reminder notes to people, asking them to fill out and return the questionnaires if they haven't already. Please let me know if you have any other concerns and I'll do my best to address them. I've been given until the end of the fall semester (December) to complete this final requirement for my degree. If this methodology addresses your concerns, please fill out, sign and mail back the enclosed consent form. Thank you for your help, 104

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Purpose of Research APPENDIX B PROPOSAL Protocol The purpose of this study is to explain what diversity means in the newspaper industry and to find out the effect of this concept on relationships and communication among newspaper staff members. Some literature on the subject diversity says it has improved newspapers overall as well as employee retention. However, some literature says that some people are resentful about the newspaper's method of achieving diversity, which is done not only by creating committees and policy but by looking for specific populations (women and minorities) to fill vacancies on their staffs. Some people believe this is unfair, but the spiral of silence, also called pluralistic ignorance, prevents these people from voicing their opinions. Basically, the spiral of silence principle posits that people will suppress their opinion when they believe it is not shared by the 105

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majority. This research will look into what people think of the newspaper's methods of achieving diversity and whether the benefits of diversity, as described in the literature, have been realized for the newspaper company as a whole and for the people who might have been hired because of a diversity mission statement. Description of Subject Population The subjects of study will be newspaper reporters, photographers and editors who are employed at large daily newspapers (circulation 250,000 and above) in Colorado. Large daily newspapers are believed to have the most ethnically diverse news staffs and circulation areas. These attributes are very important to this study because of the reasons listed above. Methodology and Data Disposition All participants of this study are asked to complete a questionnaire (attached). The people answering the questionnaire will be a random sample of reporters, editors and photographers. The researcher is hoping for a 50 percent return rate from each newsroom for the questionnaires. When the questionnaires have been completed, 106

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purposive sampling will be used to pick about 30-40 people of varying ethnic backgrounds, genders and job titles for in-depth interviews. The interview sample will be changed from the demographic make-up of the -newspaper industry as defined by the American Society of Newspaper Editors, which is about 89.5 percent white, 5 percent black, 3 percent Hispanic, 2 percent Asian and .5 percent American Indian. For this research, the interview sample will be 38 percent white, 22.5 percent black, 20 percent Hispanic, 15 percent Asian and 5 percent American Indian to get a better representation of minority staff members. The interviews may take place at the location of the subjects' choice, be it a coffee shop or one of their company's conference rooms and will probably last about 60 to 90 minutes. Data will be obtained by note-taking and recording interviews on a cassette tape. It is expected that one questionnaire and one interview should be enough to obtain the subjects' opinions of their newspaper's practices, but the investigator may telephone some of the subjects after the interview to ask about any new experiences. Subjects are assured anonymity. Tapes of the interviews will be stored with the researcher under the guidelines of the UCD Department of Sociology, and subjects will be provided the opportunity to approve 107

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any direct quotes that are used in the analysis portion of the study. Subjects will be identified only by race and gender to eliminate the possibility that they" may be identified; their job titles and the name of their employer will not be used. It difficult to provide a list of questions that will be asked in these sessions because data from the questionnaires has not been collected. In-depth interviewing is like a natural conversation; it is only guided by the researcher. The eighth edition of The Practice of Social Research, published by Wadsworth Publishing Company and written by Earl Babbie, a sociologist who is considered an expert in social methodology, explains a qualitative interview is an interaction between an interviewer and a respondent in which the interview has a general plan of inquiry but not a specific set of questions that must be asked in particular words and in a particular order. A qualitative interview is essentially a conversation in which the interviewer establishes a general direction for the conversation and pursues specific topics raised by the respondent (Babbie, 1998, p. 290). However, in general, subjects will be asked questions about their participation on diversity committees (if they were part of such a committee), what they've learned from the committees and how the committee has impacted the newspaper's operation, but other areas might also be explored, depending on the data collected. 108

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Potential Benefits/Risks Findings of this research will be especially relevant to the field of sociology in the area of justice theory (distributive and procedural). Distributive justice says people base their fairness perceptions on the amount of resources they are rewarded. Procedural justice says people base fairness perceptions on the way or the method in which they receive certain resources. Affirmative action focuses on both distributive and procedural justice, and the Supreme Court, on more than one occasion, has been asked to re-evaluate the practice. From this research, newspapers will be able to find out how well they're dealing with diversity topics. The results might also be useful for newspaper executives as they map out plans for future hiring and promotions. This is believed to be important research because of the media's ability to strongly impact society. It is important to know how the people who report society's events view the society, the environment in which they work and whether they believe they are allowed to express their different, sometimes conflicting, views. The only foreseeable risk for subjects who participate in this study is the threat that they could be fired if they speak negatively about their company. 109

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Precautions to Minimize Risks Interviews are to be done away from the newspaper to eliminate the possibility of reprisals because subjects will be harder to identify. And as previously stated, the subjects' job titles and the names of their employers will not be used in the study's write-up to eliminate the possibility that someone might recognize who is being interviewed. Participants of the study are also asked not to identify themselves on the questionnaires, and these questionnaires can be filled out where the subject is most comfortable. Subjects also will be allowed to approve any quotes that are used in the analysis. Method of Obtaining Informed Consent Subjects will be asked to sign a consent form that explains the study's method and will be provided a letter that explains the study's objective before they are given their questionnaires. 110

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Letter to Potential Respondents Dear participant, My name is Claudia Hibbert-BeDan, and I am a candidate for a master of arts degree in sociology. I hope to complete my studies in (Spring 1999). I am asking for your participation in a study about diversity at your newspaper. The purpose of this study is to explain the effect of this concept on relationships and communication among newspaper staff members. All participants of this study are asked to complete a short questionnaire. A handful of people will then be selected for interviews, which can take place at the location of their choice. In the interview session, subjects will be asked about their participation on diversity committees and the impact of such committees on their newspaper's operation. Please sign the attached consent form before filling out the questionnaire. The consent form, which will be kept with the researcher (Claudia Hibbert-BeDan), is proof that the study's purpose and method have been explained. No one else will see these consent forms; however, a copy of the form will be available, upon request, to the study's participants. Most of the information on the consent form is duplicated on this letter. The findings might be useful for newspaper executives as they map out plans for future hiring and promotions. If you have any questions about your rights as a research subject, you may contact University of Colorado at Denver's Office of Academic Affairs by calling 556-2550 or by visiting the CU-Denver Building, Suite 700, in downtown Denver. Thank you in advance, Claudia Hibbert-BeDan 111

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Consent Form I am asking for your participation in a research study about diversity issues at your newspaper. All participants are asked to complete the -attached questionnaire, but a sample of about 20-30 will be asked to do interviews to help put the responses in perspective. I must offer a strong word of caution to participants of this study about potential risks to their professional reputation and/or their employment if their responses are identified in this study. However, subjects are assured confidentiality. Names will not be used in the analysis portion of the study; subjects will only be identified by ethnicity and gender. Job titles and ages will not be used in the analysis to eliminate the possibility that subjects' comments might be identified. Subjects who are chosen for interviews can also choose the location (as long as it is in a Denver public area) where the interview takes place. Respondents are asked not to identify themselves by name on the questionnaires. Demographic information will only be used to describe the people involved in the study. Subjects who are quoted in the study will also be given the opportunity to approve any direct quotes used in the analysis portion of the study. Please initial here ( ) if you are giving permission to use any quotes collected from the interview session, or the researcher will contact you at a later date. Participation is voluntary, and respondents will not be penalized or lose benefits for withdrawing from the study. All respondents' questions will be answered before, during and after the research project. No known treatments will be necessary for respondents as a result of this research. Titis consent form is for the researcher's records to show that the study's purpose and procedures were explained. No one else will see the consent forms, but copies of the consent form will be provided, upon request, to the respondents of the study. 112

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Respondents who have questions about their rights as a research participant may contact the University of Colorado at Denver's Office of Academic Affairs by calling 556-2550 or by visiting the CU-Denver Building, Suite 70_D, in downtown Denver. By signing this consent form, you are agreeing to participate in this study. please print name signature date 113

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Questionnaire Note: Please remember there are no right or wrong answers. Do not write your name on this questionnaire. PART 1: Please indicate your agreement or disagreement with each of the following statements by circling the appropriate code. SA: Strongly Agree A: Agree N: Neutral D: Disagree SD: Strongly Disagree 1. When minority journalists are considered for advancement at my newspaper, their race or ethnicity is an advantage. SA A N D SD 2. At my newspaper, white journalists are more likely to advance to higher positions than are minority journalists. SA A N D SD 3. In my newsroom, performance standards are lower for the minority members of the editorial staff than they are for the whites on staff. SA A N D SD 4. In my newsroom, performance standards are higher for the minority members of the editorial staff than they are for the whites on staff. SA A N D SD 5. I believe my job evaluations have been fair. SA A N D SD 114

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6. When white journalists are hired or promoted, it is because they are most qualified for the job. SA A N D SD 7. When minorities journalists are hired or promoted, it is because they are most qualified for the job. SA A N D SD 8. Minority journalists are hired because of management goals or directives. SA A N D SD 9. I believe that my co-workers accept me. SA A N D SD 10. I believe my accomplishments are appreciated. SA A N D SD 11. Diversity has been overemphasized in recent years. SA A N D SD 12. A news staff should reflect society in terms of racial make-up. SA A N D SD 13. Employing a diverse newsroom has little effect on what gets covered or the newspaper's credibility. SA A N D SD 14. Regarding news issues, my newsroom is seldom divided along racial lines. SA A N D SD 15. I feel comfortable discussing race issues with my colleagues. 115

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SA A N D SD 16. My newspaper is sensitive and balanced in its coverage of race-related issues. SA A N D SD 17. My newspaper covers minority communities often. SA A N D SD 18. Race does play a role in deciding who covers race-related stories. SA A N D SD 19. Race should play a role in deciding who covers race-related stories. SA A N D SD PART II: Please circle the one letter for the answer that matches your opinion. 20. What effect has affirmative action had on the advancement or hiring of minority journalists in your newsroom? A. It has increased hiring and advancement for minorities. B. It has slowed hiring and advancement for minorities. C. It hasn't affected hiring or advancements for minorities. 21. What effect has affirmative action had on the advancement or hiring of white journalists in your newsroom? A. It has increased hiring and advancement for whites. B. It has slowed hiring and advancement for whites. C. It hasn't affected hiring or advancements for whites. 116

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22. Have you personally experienced incidents of overt racism in your newsroom? (circle one) yes no 23. Have you personally witnessed incidents of overt racism directed at others in your newsroom? (circle one) yes no 24. Since you began your career in journalism, how have career opportunities changed for whites in the newsroom? A. They have improved. B. They haven't changed. C. They've gotten worse. 25. Since you began your career in journalism, how have career opportunities changed for minorities in the newsroom? A. They have improved. B. They haven't changed. C. They've gotten worse. 26. How did you hear about your first newsroom position? A. recruited through school/ college B. job fair C. referred by colleague/ friend D. advertisement for opening E. you called the newspaper F. started in internship position G. other (please specify) 117

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27. The most important aspect of my job is ... A. having a voice in management decisions B. pay and fringe benefits C. that my work makes good use of my talents and skills. D. my work has a positive impact on the community. 28. In the next five years, I believe I will be ... A. at the same newspaper in the same position B. at the same newspaper in a different position C. at a different newspaper in a similar position D. at a different paper in a different position E. in some other media position (i.e. broadcast, radio) F. outside the media industry 29. How old will you be by the end of this year? ______ 30. Sex: male female 31. What is your ethnic background? white, not Hispanic black, not Hispanic Hispanic, Latino, Chicano Asian Native American (American Indian) biracial/multiracial other (please specify) _____________ 32. What is your job title? editor staff writer photographer free lancer ___ other (please specify) 118

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33. How many years have you worked at your newspaper? __ 34. What is the name of your newspaper? Thank you for your participation. 119

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APPENDIXC MULTI-NEWSPAPER CITIES Separate Ownership MOUNTAIN HOME, ARK. Baxter Bulletin Daily News LOS ANGELES, CALIF. Daily Commerce Daily News La Opinion (Spanish) Los Angeles Times PLEASANTON, CALIF. Tri-Valley Herald Valley Times SAN DIEGO, CALIF. San Diego Daily Transcript San Diego Union-Tribune ASPEN, COLO. Aspen Daily News Aspen Times DENVER, COLO. The Denver Post Denver Rocky Mountain News MONTROSE, COLO. Montrose Daily Press Montrose Sun 120 WASHINGTON, D.C. Washington Post Washington Times MIAMI, FLA. Diario Las Americas (Spanish) Miami Herald CHICAGO, ILL. Chicago Defender Daily Herald Daily Southtown Chicago SunTimes Chicago Tribune BOSTON, MASS. Boston Globe Boston Herald COLUMBIA, MO. Columbia Missourian Columbia Daily Tribune BERLIN, N.H. Berlin Reporter Berlin Daily Sun TRENTON, N.J. Times Trentonian

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NEW YORK, N.Y. Daily Challenge New York Daily News New York Times New York Post El Diario La Prerisa (Spanish) SYCARUSE, N.Y. Post-Standard Syracuse Herald-Journal PITTSBURGH, P A. North Hill News Record Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Greensburg Tribune-Review 121 WILKES-BARRE, PA. Citizens' Voice Times Leader KINGSPORT, TENN Daily News Kingsport Times-News MANASSAS, VA. J oumal Messenger Prince William Journal GREEN BAY, WISC. Green Bay News-Chronicle Green Bay Press-Gazette

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Joint Operating Agreements BIRMINGHAM, ALA. Birmingham Post-Herald Birmingham News TUCSON, ARIZ. Arizona Daily-Star Tucson Citizen Daily Territorial SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Examiner HONOLULU, HAWAII. Honolulu Advertiser Honolulu Star-Bulletin EVANSVILLE, IND. Evansville Courier Evansville Press FORT WAYNE, IND. Journal Gazette News-Sentinel DETROIT, MICH. Detroit Free Press Detroit News 122 LAS VEGAS, NEV. Las Vegas Sun Las Vegas Review-Journal ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. Albuquerque Journal Albuquerque Tribune CINCINNATI, OHIO Cincinnati Enquirer Cincinnati Post YORK,PA. York Daily Record York Dispatch CHATTANOOGA, TENN. Chattanooga Free Press Chattanooga Times SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH Salt Lake Tribune Deseret News SEATTLE, WASH. Seattle Post-lntelligencer Seattle Times CHARLESTON, W.VA. Charleston Gazette Charleston Daily Mail

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Common Ownerships ATHENS, GA Athens Daily News Athens Banner-Herald ATLANTA, GA. Atlanta Constitution Atlanta Journal INDIANAPOLIS, IND. Indianapolis Star Indianapolis News FREDERICK, MD. Frederick Post Frederick News HARRISTOWN, MD. Morning Herald Daily Mail JEFFERSON CITY, MO. Capitol News PostTribune OGDENSBURG, N.Y. Courier-Observer Journal ERIE, PA. Morning News Erie Daily Times FRANKLIN OIL CITY, PA. Derrick News-Herald LANCASTER, PA. Intelligencer Journal Lancaster New Era PHILADELPHIA, PA Philadelphia Inquirer Philadelphia Daily News READING, PA. Reading Times Reading Eagle SCRANTON, PA. Tribune Scranton Times AMARILLO, TEXAS Amarillo Daily News Amarillo Globe Times CLARKSBURG, W. VA. Clarksburg Exponent Clarksburg Telegram PARKENSBURG, W.VA. Parkensburg News Parkensburg Sentinel WHEELING, W.VA. In telligencer Wheeling News-Register MADISON I WISC. Capital Times Wisconsin State Journal -from the Editor & Publisher Yearbook, 1998 123

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