News in a New America' Provides Fresh Look at Media Diversity

Press Release

January 26, 2006


MIAMI – News in a New America, a fresh, thought-provoking analysis of the diversity of American news coverage and newsrooms, is being released today at the New California Media Awards in San Jose, Calif.

Written by Sally Lehrman, an award-winning medical and science policy writer, and published by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, News in a New America addresses not just the diversity of a rapidly changing nation, but in a media culture that is transforming at an even quicker pace.

“Diverse sourcing or clever recruitment and retention strategies are not enough. We must go deeper,” writes Lehrman, who also serves as national diversity chair for the Society of Professional Journalists. “We need to begin to address the powerful human processes that create misunderstanding, the things that shape interactions both inside and outside the newsroom.”

Based on extensive interviews in newsrooms across the country, Lehrman’s reporting provides more than a snapshot of newsroom diversity. It addresses such issues as how to identify unconscious stereotypes and how to reframe diversity issues. The book also provides ideas and advice for news editors and directors, offers concrete suggestions on ways to meet the challenges and pressures of the future, and features an extensive diversity resource guide 

“The book is a compelling, sobering and ultimately optimistic look at the state of America’s news and newsroom diversity,” said Eric Newton, Knight’s director of Journalism Initiatives.

Material from News in a New America is already being used by journalism faculty members in their classes. Dr. Paul Lieber of Louisiana State University, who has been researching media diversity, says the book “provides the facts devoid of the ‘preachiness’ that far too often accompanies the media diversity dialogue.”

News in a New America is the third in a series of publications by Knight Foundation that examine key issues facing the news media. The others are: “Newsroom Training: Where’s the Investment?” and “The Media Missionaries: American Support for Journalism Excellence and Press Freedom Around the Globe.”

To request copies, contact [email protected].

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation promotes journalism excellence worldwide and invests in the vitality of 26 U.S. communities. Since its creation in 1950, Knight Foundation has approved more than $275 million in journalism grants.