Social change triggered by the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s sent the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) on a fifty-year mission to dismantle an exclusionary professional standard that envisioned the ideal journalist as white, straight, and male. In this book, Gwyneth Mellinger explores the complex history of the decades-long ASNE diversity initiative, which culminated in the failed Goal 2000 effort to match newsroom demographics with those of the U.S. population.
Drawing upon exhaustive reviews of ASNE archival materials, Mellinger examines the democratic paradox through the lens of the ASNE, an elite organization that arguably did more than any other during the twentieth century to institutionalize professional standards in journalism and expand the concepts of government accountability and the free press. The ASNE would emerge in the 1970s as the leader in the newsroom integration movement, but its effort would be frustrated by structures of exclusion the organization had embedded into its own professional standards. Explaining why a project so promising failed so profoundly, Chasing Newsroom Diversity expands our understanding of the intransigence of institutional racism, gender discrimination, and homophobia within democracy.