Black & white TV: An Omaha case study of the role of race in local television news employment.
Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Dr. Jeremy H. Lipschultz
This study is a qualitative inquiry into the role race plays in hiring and promoting in the Omaha television market. By interviewing news directors and on-air talent, the researcher attempted to develop some bases for perceptions of race on the job. There also was an attempt to gather recommendations for ways to change the role of race in TV news. The responses were organized into themes that best summarized the feelings of the respondents. In the area of diversity in hiring, news employees talked about themes of competence and the negative impact race-based hiring can have. The themes that emerged from the news director interviews were that of the unresponsive audience and the race matters theme which suggested race does play a part in their hiring decisions. Half of the minorities interviewed helped to develop the Omaha is diverse theme, while the rest of the respondents added to the long way to go theme. When asked about the reasons to diversify, respondents helped develop four themes including varied perspectives, connecting with the audience, unsilencing the silent other, and diversity makes cents. And when they were asked about ways to make changes in the future they suggested active recruiting, changing management, providing role models, and integrating life so the work place could follow. The results suggest that there is discrimination based on race in the industry, but that discrimination is not limited to racial minorities because Caucasians also reported experiences of racial discrimination. News Directors claimed that their decisions to hire or promote a candidate were never based solely on race, but that race did fit somewhere into the decision-making equation. There was overall agreement that racial diversity was important in a television news room in order to achieve a balance of perspectives as well as in order to connect with the audience, ultimately benefiting the bottom-line. These results suggest that, although much has been done to eliminate racial inequalities in the newsroom, discrimination still exists. There still needs to be more done to promote equality.
Shelton, Laura Charlotte, "Black & white TV: An Omaha case study of the role of race in local television news employment." (2000). Student Work. 3020.
A Thesis Presented to the Department of Communication and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 2000 Laura Shelton.