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University of Diversity: a new look from a different angle at the race/gender compositions on D-FW's four major TV news providers

In May 2008, unclebarky.com's inaugural look at staff diversity on Fox4, NBC5, WFAA8 and CBS11 focused on the four DFW stations' full-time anchors and reporters.

We'll try a change of pace this time by taking a look at who ended up with the late night news face time during a previously highlighted two-week February "sweeps" period. These are the same newscasts that came under close scrutiny in this website's series of "This just in: A night in the Lives of D-FW's late night newscasts" dissections. The dates are Monday to Friday, Feb. 14-18 and Feb. 21-25.

The recently released February sweeps ratings results show that the 10 p.m. newscasts on NBC5, WFAA8 and CBS11 and the 9 p.m. edition on Fox4 had larger average audiences than newscasts in any other day-part. So for reporters looking for higher profiles, these are still the optimum venues. They also show how the stations are presenting themselves to a demonstrably diverse viewing area. Whatever a reporter's race or gender, merit obviously should be the over-riding consideration in which correspondents get on the air and which don't. But stations also must make efforts to reflect the market they're serving.

Before beginning, let's note that the story count on Fox4 is appreciably higher for two reasons. Number one, the 9 p.m. newscast runs 25 minutes longer than the 10 p.m. editions on rival stations. Number two, Fox4's new, nightly "News Wrap" segment usually features three or four somewhat abbreviated stories by staff reporters. So that's also going to increase the overall body count.

Finally, only stories with identifiable reporter IDs are included. Usually these are via opening introductions by anchors and closing "standups" by the reporters themselves. Or in the case of "News Wrap," the reporters are clearly visible while talking to the camera after an anchor sets the table. Fox4's in-studio interviews of newsmakers, usually by anchors Steve Eagar or Heather Hays, are not included in the final story totals. Nor are sports reports. But stories by anchors who venture out into the field -- such as NBC5 anchor Brian Curtis' piece on airport security -- are part of the overall count.

OK, here we go.

Fox4 reporters Brandon Todd, Sophia Reza and Matt Grubs.

FOX4's 9 P.M. NEWSCASTS, FEB. 14-18 and FEB. 21-25

Different reporters used -- 17
Total number of stories -- 70
Stories by men -- 38
Stories by women -- 32
Stories by white men -- 27
Stories by minority men -- 11
Stories by white women -- 10
Stories by minority women -- 22
Reporters with five or more stories on these newscasts -- Brandon Todd (9); Matt Grubs (8), Shaun Rabb (7), Sophia Reza (6)

Comment: Fox4's two most prominently used reporters in these periods, Todd and Grubs, are both white males. Its regular news, weather and sports anchors also are white. But close to half of the news stories with reporter IDs -- 33 of 70 -- were by minority staffers. That's a very high percentage, with Fox4 making the overall best use of both genders in stories reported by people of color. Eight different minority reporters had at least one story apiece, led by Shaun Rabb's 7 and Sophia Reza's 6.

The total number of stories also is fairly evenly divided by gender, but Reza is the only woman reporter who appeared on at least half of these newscasts.

NBC5 reporters Scott Gordon, Ellen Goldberg and Omar Villafranca

NBC5's 10 P.M. NEWSCASTS, FEB. 14-18 and FEB. 21-25

Different reporters used -- 12
Total number of stories -- 41
Stories by men -- 23
Stories by women -- 18
Stories by white men -- 14
Stories by minority men -- 9
Stories by white women -- 11
Stories by minority women -- 7
Reporters with five or more stories on these newscasts -- Ellen Goldberg (9), Scott Gordon (9), Omar Villafranca (8)

Comment: Of the 41 stories reported, 26 were from the trio of Goldberg, Gordon and Villafranca. And three of the stories came from anchors Meredith Land (2) and Brian Curtis, who journeyed to Kansas City to report on airport security systems. NBC5's featured anchor quartet has one minority -- sports anchor Newy Scruggs. But he's often not there, with either Matt Barrie or newcomer Rontina McCann regularly filling in.

As with Fox4, reporting by gender is split fairly evenly. The station's overall percentage of stories by minorities -- 16 of 41 -- is solid and mostly from two reporters, Villafranca and Ashanti Blaize, who had four stories to his eight.

WFAA8 reporters Chris Hawes, Jason Whitely and Monika Diaz
WFAA8's 10 P.M. NEWSCASTS, FEB. 14-18 and FEB. 21-25

Different reporters used -- 15
Total number of stories -- 46
Stories by men -- 25
Stories by women -- 21
Stories by white men -- 21
Stories by minority men -- 4
Stories by white women -- 12
Stories by minority women -- 9
Reporters with five or more stories on these newscasts -- Chris Hawes (8), Jason Whitely (7), Monika Diaz (5)

Comment: WFAA8 long has had the most diverse anchor team, with John McCaa and Gloria Campos in charge while white males Pete Delkus and Dale Hansen respectively handle the weather and sports segments while also trading barbs and jabs. The station's overall minority representation among reporters is decidedly less eye-catching, with just 13 of the 46 stories delivered by people of color. Veteran Gary Reaves is the only male minority reporter in this mix.

The gender split, as with the previous two stations, is relatively even. Chris Hawes and Jason Whitely, both white, continue to do the heaviest lifting, with a combined total of 15 stories during these periods.

CBS11 reporters Arezow Doost, Jay Gormley and Carol Cavazos

CBS11's 10 P.M. NEWSCASTS, FEB. 14-18 and FEB. 21-25

Different reporters used -- 14
Total number of stories -- 47
Stories by men -- 13
Stories by women -- 34
Stories by white men -- 13
Stories by minority men -- 0
Stories by white women -- 11
Stories by minority women -- 23
Reporters with five or more stories on these newscasts -- Arezow Doost (9), Carol Cavazos (7)

Comment: CBS11 clearly was no country for old men -- let alone young or middle-aged men -- during these two weeks. Thirty-four of 47 stories were by women, by far the market's biggest gender disparity.

The station had no minority men in view on its 10 p.m. newscasts. But a total of 23 stories were reported by minority women, one more than on Fox4. These included three by anchor Karen Borta, who is of Hispanic descent even if much of the market remains unaware of this. The station's other three featured anchors are white. Among reporters, minority women Arezow Doost and Carol Cavazos set the pace with 16 stories between them.

OVERALL IMPRESSION: These are snapshots of a two-week period, but for the most part are representative of the stations' gender and racial makeups. African-American men increasingly are vanishing from the reporter ranks. Fox4's Shaun Rabb and WFAA8's Gary Reaves both have logged more than a dozen years at their respective stations while NBC5's Randy McIlwain (who had just one story during this period) also is a veteran street reporter. CBS11 likewise has a longtime storyteller in Steve Pickett, but he made no late night appearances during these two weeks.

Whether for lack of applicants or abilities, there currently are no new African-American male reporters of significance at any of these four stations. But recently hired and comparatively young minority women are making their marks in late night news, including Doost and Andrea Lucia at CBS11; Monika Diaz at WFAA8; Ashanti Blaize at NBC5 and Sophia Reza at Fox4.

Investigative reporters make fewer appearances because of the time it takes to put together their stories. There are no minorities in their ranks at present. WFAA8 has long relied on the duo of Brett Shipp and Byron Harris while Fox4 still deploys Becky Oliver. CBS11's Ginger Allen remains relatively new on this scene and NBC5 doesn't have any full-time investigators.

As previously reported, the ratings results for the full four-week February "sweeps" put CBS11 on top at 10 p.m. in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming on most stations. WFAA8 finished second in total viewers and Fox4's 9 p.m. newscast had the runner-up spot among 25-to-54-year-olds.

Maybe now you also know a little bit more about how they look in a market where it's not only the anchors who count.