Advice to a dying industry

As newspaper circulation and advertising collapse at an accelerating pace, the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports (TIDES) publishes a study with the shocking news that sports columnists and editors are the wrong sex and wrong color in too many cases. Editor & Publisher notes

Newspaper sports departments remain nearly all white and male -- and progress towards diversity is painfully slow, concludes a "report card" on sports staffing released Thursday at the annual meeting of Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE). [....]

"This report shows that in 2008, 94% of the sports editors; 89% of the assistant sports editors; 88% of our columnists; 87% of our reporters; and 89% of our copy editors/designers are white, and those same positions are 94%, 90%, 94%, 91%, and 84% male," wrote Richard Lapchick, director of TIDES, which is housed at the University of Central Florida. [....]

The biggest change since 2006 was an increase in the percentage of African-American sports columnists to 10.7% from 7.4%, the report found.

This last figure indicates that the percentage of black sports columnists increased by 45% in just two years, to a figure close to the national average for black population. But obviously that is insignificant in the eyes of TIDES (any relation to the left wing Tides Foundation?).

How shocking is it that relatively few women write or edit sports news? If I didn't understand the obsessive nature of the race and gender bean counters, I would suspect this is either a put-on or a deliberate attempt to distract editors from patching the leaks in their sinking ships.

As massive newsroom layoffs accelerate, there will be few new hires in sports departments (or anywhere else) at newspapers, which increasingly understand they are in a life and death struggle. It is hard to see how sports departments will be able to change the race and sex balance very much.

But no doubt serious attention and resources will be devoted to this issue, rather than to correcting political bias or otherwise addressing the underlying issues threatening the survival of daily newspapers.

Deck chairs on the Titanic....

Hat tip: David Paulin