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Diversity study: APSE’s gender-hiring scores continue to lag

September 23, 2021 GMT

A diversity study found the Associated Press Sports Editors has improved in racial hiring but the independent national organization continues to lag when it comes to hiring women.

The report card Wednesday from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) at Central Florida assigned the organization an overall C grade, with a B-plus for racial hiring but an F for gender hiring. The biennial report examines sports-media positions such as editors, reporters, columnists and web specialists at more than 100 newspapers and websites, though this was the first report card for the organization’s members since 2018 after last year’s scheduled release was delayed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The overall grade was up from a D-plus from the 2018 report for the APSE, a national organization designed to improve and maintain professional standards of sports departments. The organization earned its highest overall grade since the study began in 2006, but the gender grade marked a sixth consecutive time the study assigned an F.


TIDES has long compiled similar report cards looking at diversity hiring in the NFL, NBA, WNBA, Major League Soccer and Major League Baseball, as well in college sports. Richard Lapchick, TIDES director and lead report author, noted there had rarely been consistent F grades and called the gender-hiring struggles in the APSE study “the “biggest lack of progress of all the report cards we’ve done since the 1980s.”

“For this to be a constant F is really quite a statement,” Lapchick said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I guess I was encouraged by some of the racial-hiring changes. … But obviously there’s not been a corresponding push for more women, to have them mired in an F grade since 2008 essentially when we first did the grade is beyond noteworthy. It’s very discouraging.”

To Lapchick’s point, the report card issued F grades to APSE for gender hiring in all staff positions (19.3% women), sports editors (16.7%), columnists (17.8%) and reporters (14.4%), though all of those areas reported gains from the previous report. The gender-hiring score for assistant sports editors (24.2%) was down and earned a D grade, while copy editors/designers (24.7%) increased and earned a D.

Compare that to the racial-hiring scores, with people of color filling at least 20.8% of positions with gains in every category a a high of 27.7% for assistant sports editors. That earned either an A-minus or B-plus for each area.

Lapchick said he was hopeful that women filling 36.3% of upper-management positions, the highest figure in any category in the study, might eventually help improve gender-hiring numbers.

In a statement, APSE president Gary Potosky and APSE Diversity Committee chairman Sherrod Blakely pointed to APSE efforts to improve diversity in hiring and career advancement. Those included: bringing in its 11th annual diversity fellowship class next year, a 2019 diversity pledge offering free website advertising for hiring editors considering a diverse field of candidates, and a mentorship program that includes women and people of color.

“However, there is much more to do in this area, and we are absolutely not satisfied with these grades,” they said. “Diversity is not a number at APSE, it is defined by our organization as a value added to any newsroom in the reporting, editing, publishing, and audience development process.

“We serve our readers best when our newsrooms are more diverse in color, gender, and sexual orientation. And APSE welcomes continued scrutiny of our industry in this area.”


Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap