TV crews set up for a press conference at the federal courthouse in San Diego. File photo by Ken Stone

The Society for Professional Journalists, San Diego Professional Chapter, has released results of its racial and ethnic diversity survey of San Diego-area newsrooms. It shows white journalists make up the majority of news staff in the region.

The survey was conducted between February and May 2021. SPJ said 11 newsrooms responded to the survey, representing 288 journalists.

Participants included Times of San Diego, San Diego Business Journal, Voice of San Diego, San Diego Community Newspaper Group, KFMB CBS-8, The San Diego Union-Tribune, inewsource, KPBS, North Coast Current, San Diego Magazine, The Star-News, The East County Californian and The Alpine Sun.

Missing were news media outlets for specific ethnic groups, including Asian Journal, El Latino and San Diego Voice & Viewpoint for Black audiences. SPJ said it did not contact the first two publications, and did not hear back from the third.

SPJ said all but one small newsroom reported that white journalists represent 50% or more of their overall staff. At inewsource and KPBS, white journalists represented 79.6% and 72.5% of overall staff, respectively.

The SPJ survey showed a disparity between the Latino-Hispanic community and San Diego journalists. Among the nearly 300 journalists represented in the survey, only 21.9 percent identify as Latino or Hispanic.

Less than half of the newsrooms that responded to the survey employ Black journalists, and only two newsrooms employ Native American journalists. The San Diego Union-Tribune is the only regional newsroom that reported employing a Pacific Islander staff member. 

While participating newsrooms employed non-white staffers, fewer than half had non-white managers. Males make up just over half, or 53.1%, of responding newsrooms.  

More than half of San Diego journalists are between 30 and 49 years old, survey results show. SPJ said none of the local newsrooms reported having staff members under 20 years old, nor did they report having staff who identify as a gender other than male or female. 

Lisa Halverstadt, chair of the San Diego SPJ’s diversity committee, told Times of San Diego, “The responses from 11 of the 20 newsrooms the SPJ board queried give us an established baseline we can use to measure our region’s future progress on a crucial goal: ensuring local media organizations better reflect the diversity of the communities they serve.”

Radio talk show host Carl DeMaio tweeted a criticism of SPJ’s survey. DeMaio posted on Twitter, “Gotta love this. A survey on `diversity’ in media conveniently ignores the media is completely liberal. Zero diversity of thought.”

In response, SPJ board president Kelly Davis told Times of San Diego, “We appreciate Carl’s interest in our survey, but the goal from the outset was to measure racial and ethnic diversity.”

(W)right On Communications Moves Downtown, Hires Staff

(W)right On Communications, a San Diego PR firm, announced it has relocated offices from Prospect Street in La Jolla to the 27th floor of the Emerald Plaza towers, 402 West Broadway, in Downtown San Diego. The company leased 2,657 square feet in La Jolla and now occupies 3,228 square feet.

(W)right On also has hired three new employees and joined the International Public Relations Network, a global network of more than 50 independently, owned-and-managed communications and public relations agencies in more than 40 countries. (W)right will be IPRN’s San Diego member agency.

Founded in 1998 by Julie Wright, the firm spent 10 years in Solana Beach before moving to La Jolla in May 2018. “We loved our La Jolla space, especially its beautiful surroundings,” Wright, the agency’s president, told Times of San Diego. “With the Emerald Plaza location, we can’t see whales spouting but still have gorgeous water views of San Diego Bay. The downtown San Diego office is similar in square footage with a more efficient layout to accommodate more team members in private offices with a variety of meeting and common spaces.”

The firm’s three recent hires include Felicia Watson as director of creative services, Parker Little as senior communications strategist and Jen Moynihan as communications coordinator.

Watson spent the past 22 years as an art director and freelance graphic designer. At (W)right On, she will be responsible for leading the agency’s creative services that integrate print and digital graphic design, online programming, videography, editing and photography. She also will oversee a variety of agency services, including animation, motion graphics and emerging technology. During her career, she has created marketing campaigns for the Motion Picture Association of America, Kirkland, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Bliss Skincare, City National Bank, Abbott Diagnostics and KB Home.

Little was previously a freelance public relations consultant before joining (W)right On. He worked for the Zimmerman Agency in Tallahassee, Fla., and has experience in the luxury hospitality, tourism, senior living and education sectors. Previous clients have included Noble House Hotels & Resorts, Hotel Du Pont, The Kessler Collection and Visit Park City. In 2011, he earned a bachelor’s degree in media and communication from Florida State University.

Moynihan will work on media relations, social media campaigns and other project coordination. She has six years of experience as a TV news anchor and reporter in Colorado Springs; Tyler, Texas; and Los Angeles. In 2015, she graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in political science from California State University Fullerton.

“Felicia, Parker and Jen are terrific new team members who bring key capabilities to drive our client partners’ success,” said Grant Wright, (W)right On’s CEO and managing partner. “Our careful and strategic growth continues to ensure that we have world-class communicators for world-class client partners, making an inspiring difference in their respective industries.”

IPRN, based in Madrid, Spain, has members in more than 50 major cities around the globe. “IPRN extends our reach worldwide wherever our client partners need us to be,” said Wright.

(W)right On has offices in San Diego, Los Angeles and North Vancouver, British Columbia.

IABC to Discuss Port of San Diego’s Communications Strategy

The International Association of Business Communicators San Diego chapter will host “Where San Diego Greets the World: Port of San Diego Communications,” an in-person luncheon program starting at 11 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 22, at the Hilton San Diego Airport Hotel on Harbor Island. Cost to attend is $25.

Speakers will be two members of the Port of San Diego’s communications staff, including Jenifer Barsell, director of marketing and communications, and Briane Mundy Page, public information officer. Topic will be the Port’s efforts to leverage partnerships and utilize communications strategies for its Blue Tech Bay campaign that is promoting the sustainable use of ocean resources to grow the economy, create jobs and improve livelihoods, as well as protect and improve the health of ecosystems.

Health Care Communicators Plan ‘Wine and Wisdom’ Virtual Networking

The Health Care Communicators of Southern California, a regional networking group, will host a free “Wine and Wisdom” virtual networking mixer from 4:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, over Zoom. The speaker will be Michelle Brubaker, associate director, communications and media relations at UCSD Health.

HCCSC’s members include communications professionals who work in the health care, wellness, biotech, medical device, health information technology and pharmaceutical industries in San Diego, Los Angeles and Orange counties, as well as the Inland Empire. Information is available at www.hccsc.org.

Updated at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021

Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.

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