More than two dozen members of Congress are pushing to allow the FCC to start gathering data about the diversity of broadcast workforces again.
“It is simple – a station is best placed to do so when its employees reflect the diversity of that community,” the letter — signed by 27 members of Congress — says.
The proponents argue that reinstating the workforce data collection process is vital to providing programming that meets the diverse needs of different communities.
In 2022, Pew Research reported 71% of surveyed journalists said their news organization lacked gender, race, and ethnicity diversity.
In addition, the group says the FCC is required by law to collect the information.
“Diversity in our news matters and it’s critical that broadcast networks and newsrooms look like the communities they serve,” Senator Ben Ray Luján, one of the signees, said in a statement. “As the public relies on news broadcasts daily, our letter urges the FCC to continue collecting data on broadcast workforce diversity to ensure all stories and perspectives are covered responsibly.”
FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks also advocates for restarting the data collection.
Starks said the Commission began requiring broadcasters to submit annual employment reports that detailed the composition of its workforce in terms of race, ethnicity, and gender. Since 2021, the Commission has been “assessing and addressing” restarting the data collection.
“It has been more than 20 years since the Commission paused its collection of this data, but it is time, in fact past time, for us to resume our responsibility,” Starks said.