How Diverse Are Alt-Weekly Feature Writers?

The percent of Washington City Paper cover stories written by women in 2011 “isn’t bad at all,” says staff writer Shani Hilton in an unscientific byline review of the paper. However:

When it comes to race, 34 covers were written by white authors, 7 by black authors, and two by contributor Mike Paarlberg—who is of white and Korean heritage. So that means 79 percent of our cover stories were written by white people, and 16 percent were written by blacks.

While that’s closeish to real-world demographic percentages, it’s pretty bad for a paper located in a city with a plurality of black residents.

Hilton’s blog post comes on the heels of two national reports on gender disparity in the media which found that, in the words of City Paper-alum Amanda Hess: “The media is male and getting maler.”

Hess and GOOD executive editor Ann Friedman have created the #PromoteWomen campaign to actively market up-and-coming female journalists to high-level editors.

Based on the equally-dismal racial byline disparity, perhaps a #PromotePeopleOfColor campaign is also in order? To our knowledge, this is the first time an alt-weekly has published a survey of this sort, but feel free to send us other examples here.