Commission’s Chicago session highlights scarcity of color in profession

The Commission on the Status of Minorities’ session in the Second City, at 1:30-3 p.m. Thursday, August 10, in the Denver Room (fifth floor), is “A Career Ladder Missing Rungs: The Lack of Diversity in Professional Media,” and will feature panelists representing each of the major media types to talk about the low share of people of color employed there and how to correct the situation.

“In connection with CSM’s historic survey of diversity in the magazine industry to be discussed in this session, we want to bring the advocacy spotlight to all media, because every one is greatly deficient in its share of historically underrepresented races employed,” says Commission Chairman Kyle Huckins.

Until the commission’s work on magazines this year, there was no broad-based effort to establish their diversity in hiring. Taking all media together for which there are numbers, only 18 percent of employees and 13 percent of managers are racial minorities. Radio is the least diverse and television most so, but no industry has more than a quarter of workers who are of color. The nation’s population is approximately 40 percent minority.

Panelists will be:

Michael Arndt, editor of Crain’s Chicago Business
  • Michael Arndt, editor in chief of Crain’s Chicago Business, a respected, well-known specialty magazine long atop Windy City commerce reporting.
  • Loren Ghiglione, Ph.D., former dean of Northwestern University’s Medill School and 2017 Barrow Award winner, who spent more than two decades in newspapers and another pair in higher education dedicated to diversifying media & academic hiring.

    Dr. Federico Subervi, board member, Latino Public Radio Consortium
  • Jam Sardar, WLNS-TV, regional head of the Asian-American Journalists Association. He’s news director of a station in Michigan’s capital city, Lansing.
  • Marquita Smith, Ph.D., journalism department chairwoman at John Brown University, long tackling the digital side of print in her work as a reporter and editor for the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk.
  • Federico Subervi, Ph.D., on the board of directors of the Latino Public Radio Consortium, which is trying to bring representation for Hispanics into the public broadcasting mainstream.

Moderating and presiding over the panel discussion is Rev. Kyle Huckins, Ph.D., chairman of the commission and a longtime journalism professor whose professional media efforts have included every major medium (newspapers, magazines, radio, television and Internet) and netted him nearly two dozen honors.

“I’m excited by our illustrious panel,” Huckins says. “We should have a robust dialogue, and we invite everyone to come and pose questions.”

Interestingly, higher education is only slightly more diverse than professional media. Twenty percent of professors are of color (half of those being of Asian descent), and a matching 13 percent of administrators.