Last month, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued a media-ownership diversity report that revealed dismal progress amid public outcry to achieve diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in sectors across America, including broadcast media.
As the Asian-American community continues to face challenges, we can take heart in the knowledge that a pending acquisition will accelerate minority media ownership to help safeguard fairness and diversity in journalism.
Standard General’s acquisition of TEGNA media group, an innovative company that currently owns television stations in 51 U.S. markets, will create the largest minority-owned and female-led broadcasting company in our nation’s history. It will increase minority ownership of commercial television stations by 300%, emphasizing news coverage that tells everyone’s story, not just that of the white majority that has historically dominated newsrooms and media management.
Soo Kim’s leadership role at the enterprise that Standard General’s acquisition of TEGNA will form will ensure Asian-American voices are heard and respected in the news.
Asian-Americans are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the U.S., and their numbers are expected to almost double over the next 40 years. But too often, we see media depictions of Asians as one-dimensional stereotypes instead of the multifaceted community they are. It is crucial that Asian-Americans receive fair and equal representation both in front of and behind news cameras.
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My lifelong involvement in performance and the arts and my work as a producer at TYT, the world’s biggest online news network for millennials, have shown me the need for a diverse journalistic workforce and corporate leadership in broadcasting. Kim is a respected leader in the Asian-American community and an accomplished entrepreneur and businessperson. Immigrating to the United States from South Korea as a child, he guided Standard General’s noteworthy successes for more than 20 years.
Kim has clearly stated his intentions to make television news more responsive to the needs and concerns of local viewing audiences and more inclusive of all voices in the community, not just the majority population. His constructive vision for broadcast news at the local level, coupled with TEGNA’s significant footprint in the industry, will give Asians and all other minorities equal consideration in news and other programming.
Local broadcasting plays a vast and still increasing role in how Americans get their news. As more and more newspapers close their doors, people turn to local television stations for community reporting. But for Asians and other minorities, the people reporting often do not reflect the diversity of their audiences.
While almost half of the Asian-American/Pacific Islander population lives in the top 20 designated television market areas, 70% of local stations in those markets do not have on-air staff comparable to the local AAPI population. In 25% of the stations in those markets, there are no AAPIs on the air at all.
Obviously, that kind of underrepresentation fails to serve Asian-American viewers. Even the most well-intentioned majority of journalists simply do not have the insight on major issues that only comes from living the Asian-American experience, making it impossible for them to provide the nuanced reporting all their viewers deserve.
I think I speak for many Asian-Americans in media industries when I express full support for Standard General’s acquisition of TEGNA. I am excited about the new opportunities and services it will provide and eagerly look forward to seeing how Kim’s leadership will change U.S. journalism for the better.
Kim is a media and performing arts producer.