Dr. George Daniels and Dr. Tudor Vlad
discussing the paper.

Cox Center Research Team Says Group Membership Impacts Daily Newspaper Diversification Efforts

Small daily newspapers that are part of a newspaper group in which journalists can move up through the ranks to larger properties report higher levels of minority staffing in their newsrooms than do small newspapers that do not have such a journalistic labor market.

That was the key finding reported by a group of researchers from the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research at the conference of the Midwest Association for Public Opinion Research in Chicago in November.

The research was based on a national survey of daily newspaper editors in 2000 conducted in the Cox Center and data on minority hiring gathered by the American Society of Newspaper Editors.

The researchers concluded that the editors of the small newspapers had more of a motivation to hire minorities because they would be rewarded by their superiors as the minorities moved up the group. Editors at small papers not part of such an internal labor market would have less motivation to make the effort to hire minorities.

The findings were released at the Chicago meeting by Dr. Lee B. Becker and Dr. Tudor Vlad, Cox Center director and assistant director, respectively, and by Dr. George Daniels, now on the faculty of the Department of Journalism in the College of Communication and Information Sciences at the University of Alabama, but formerly a research assistant in the Cox Center.

Dr. Hugh Martin, a member of the faculty of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia, also was an author of the paper summarizing the research on daily newspaper hiring. The Cox Center is a unit of the Grady College.

The report, titled "The Impact of Internal Labor Markets On Newspaper Industry Diversification," was one of approximately 53 papers presented at the two-day conference on public opinion research in Chicago.

The Cox Center researchers classified daily newspapers in the country based on the nature of the group to which they were members. Papers that were part of a newspaper group with properties in each of five circulation clusters received the highest score. Independent papers or papers that were part of a group with only properties of one size received the lowest scores.

As predicted, newspapers with a high score on this index had more minority journalists on their news staffs than did newspapers with a low score. What was more important, small newspapers with high scores were more likely than small newspapers with low scores to have diverse staffs in terms of race and ethnicity.

The existence of training programs within newsrooms, however, was better predicted by newspaper size than by existence of the broadened internal labor market. Larger newspapers were more likely to have internal training programs in place.

"It may well be that creation of an Extended Internal Labor Market is either one of the incentives of creation of larger newspaper groups or an unintended consequence," the research team concluded. "At least in terms of personnel management, the consequence of creation of newspapers groups and the resultant Extended Internal Labor Market is positive."

The Cox Center, as part of its focus on training of journalists, is engaged in a program of research on midcareer training and its consequences. The research on labor markets was supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation of Miami. The survey of newspaper hiring is part of the Annual Surveys of Journalism & Mass Communication, which track key labor force statistics for the field of journalism. The Annual Surveys are housed in the Cox Center.