So much for doing roll call.
The American Society of News Editors (ASNE) released its annual census on Friday, and for the first time in the organization’s history, there was no estimate of the number of full-time professional jobs in the newsrooms at American newspaper companies.
Since 2006, the ASNE had calculated job losses for journalists totalling 20,000 positions, and had made estimates annually throughout its nearly 40-year existence. Just during 2014, it had projected 3,800 lost jobs.
A press release from the ASNE explained their decision through the rationale that “the structure of modern newspapers makes it impractical and error-prone to try to estimate” a total.
One big problem in measuring the current workforce of journalists is the outsourcing of work to off-site centers, often in different regions or countries. The ASNE hasn't had success in measuring the impact of these outsourced roles.
The ASNE has also traditionally relied upon self-reporting that isn’t based upon any defined or scientific methodology.
It appears as if the ASNE will now primarily focus upon tracking the diversity of employees within the newsroom, which was their organization’s original purpose. Their main annual survey has been renamed the ASNE Diversity Survey to reflect their renewed mission.
For 2015, it appears as if there has been progress on that front as minorities held 17 percent of editorial jobs. This is a marked increase from 2014, when only 12.8 percent of these positions were held by minorities.