Race and Media: Only the Ads Are Diverse

"The tentacles of the transnational mediopolies reach deeper into racial and ethnic communities than ever before," warns media analyst and activist Makani Themba-Nixon. "For some, this is a triumph in diversity. Big corporations reaching consumers of color is something they say we should celebrate. However, this market penetration has gone hand in hand with decreasing media ownership by people of color. ... Diversity in staffing (especially at the top) is closely tied to diversity in ownership. According to a 2002 study by the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, only 4.2 percent of radio outlets are minority-owned, yet these outlets employ more than half of all the people of color in radio." Themba-Nixon points to television trends as particularly troubling. "According to a forthcoming study commissioned by the Writers Guild of America west, before the merger UPN had the single highest concentration of writers of color. ... But UPN is merging with WB to create a new network called CW. CW's fall scheduling plans show ... deep cuts in UPN's black programming."