AAJA Broadcast Snapshot Finds Underrepresentation of AAPIs in Local TV News in Top 20 Media Markets

Author Daniella Ignacio

The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) is releasing the preliminary findings from a broadcast snapshot analyzing the number of Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) reporters, anchors, meteorologists and hosts working in local television newsrooms across the nation. 

While the project is a snapshot in time, the lack of representation in local TV newsrooms is a historical and structural problem that needs to be addressed. Making sure AAPI communities are covered accurately is critical, but even more at a time when many are on edge from increased anti-Asian violence and xenophobia. Stop AAPI Hate, a national coalition that gathers data on anti-AAPI xenophobia, logged more than 10,000 anti-Asian incidents since March of 2020. 

AAJA examined AAPI representation across major metropolitan areas by comparing the demographics of the top 20 TV media markets, which include cities such as Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago, with the proportion of AAPI on-air staff at the stations. 

The result? AAJA found that local TV stations in the top 20 designated market areas (DMAs) did a poor job proportionately representing the AAPI population in their communities. Nearly half (48.3%) of the AAPI population in the U.S. lives in the top 20 DMAs, yet a quarter of the stations had no AAPIs on air. 

The project found that:

  • A quarter of the stations (22 out of 94) had no AAPIs on-air.
  • More than 70 percent (70) of the stations did not have a proportion of on-air staff comparable with the AAPI population in their DMA.
  • Only 4 out of 20 of the DMAs had on-air staff comparable with their local AAPI population: Phoenix, Denver, Miami and Cleveland.
  • Philadelphia, Detroit and Orlando were the markets with the least proportionate AAPI representation on air. 

Continue reading: