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Overcoming the Diversity Ghetto

Title: Overcoming the Diversity Ghetto: Determining the Effectiveness of Network Broadcast Diversity Initiative Programs.
Name(s): Hunter, Leah P., author
Proffitt, Jennifer M., professor directing dissertation
Richard, Valliere, university representative
McDowell, Stephen, committee member
Houck, Davis, committee member
School of Communication, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2014
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: In the fall of 1999, a coalition, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the National Latino Media Council (NLMC), American Indians in Film & Television, and the National Asian-Pacific Media Coalition, threatened to boycott the major broadcast networks when their fall lineups were announced with no leads of color and few people of color in supporting roles. As a result of the protest, the four large broadcast networks came forward with diversity initiatives that would increase the number of people of color both in front of and behind the scenes. Using political economy of media and critical race theory, this research examines the effectiveness of the diversity initiatives created by the broadcast networks to address the lack of representation of people of color in front of and behind the scenes. After fifteen years, the pressure from the multi-ethnic coalition has dwindled and, though there are examples of television programs with not only a diverse staff but also women and people of color in decision making roles, the overall diversity numbers still leave a lot to be desired. A study found that the total percentage of writers of color in broadcasting and cable is 15.6 percent. The results for directors were just as dismal with 16 percent representation. Historical critical analysis reveals that efforts made by broadcast networks as early as the 1940s claimed to focus on increasing representation of people of color, primarily African Americans, in front of and behind the camera. Internal memos showed however that, while individual efforts were made, overall the networks were only providing lip service. Interviews revealed that current diversity initiatives are instrumental in getting participants into entry level positions, but do not help them move up into decision making positions. Many found, in fact, that the stigma of being a diverse candidate sometimes hurt their mobility. In broadcasting, despite the diversity initiatives, much more work needs to be done.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-8811 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the School of Communication in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester, 2014.
Date of Defense: May 2, 2014.
Keywords: Broadcasting, Critical Race Theory, Diversity, Political Economy of Media
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Jennifer M. Proffitt, Professor Directing Dissertation; Valliere Richard, University Representative; Stephen McDowell, Committee Member; Davis Houck, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Communication
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

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Hunter, L. P. (2014). Overcoming the Diversity Ghetto: Determining the Effectiveness of Network Broadcast Diversity Initiative Programs. Retrieved from