In 1996, as a follow-up to a 1988 survey, the American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) surveyed 1,037 reporters at 61 newspapers of all sizes across the nation, and found that newsrooms were more ideologically unrepresentative than they had been in the late 1980s. While the percentage of journalists calling themselves 'Democrat or liberal' essentially held steady (going from 62 to 61 percent of those surveyed), the percentage saying they were 'Republican or conservative' dropped from 22 percent to just 15 percent of journalists. The ASNE report, The Newspaper Journalists of the '90s, also revealed that bigger — presumably more influential — newspapers had the most liberal staffs.
According to ASNE: 'In 1996 only 15 percent of the newsroom labeled itself conservative/Republican or leaning in that direction, down from 22 percent in 1988. The greatest gain is in the 'independent' column, which rose from 17 percent to 24 percent. Liberal/Democrats and those leaning that way slipped only from 62 to 61 percent.'
'Political orientation does not vary across job descriptions, except that editorial writers are more likely to be independent or conservative than staffers in the newsroom.'
'On papers of at least 50,000 circulation, 65 percent of the staffs are liberal/Democrat or leaning that way, and 12 percent are conservative/Republican or leaning that way.'
Women in the newsroom were more likely than men to identify as liberal/Democratic. Only 11 percent identified themselves as conservative or leaned that way.
Minority journalists are even more liberal/Democrat than other reporters, with a mere three percent of blacks and eight percent of Asians and Hispanics putting themselves on the right.