As illustrated below, the most precipitous drop in staffing occurred in the depths of the recession between 2008 and 2010.
The ASNE census was started when the industry became concerned about addressing the lack of minority staffing in newsrooms in the late 1970s.
Editors and publishers reasoned, properly, that greater diversity in newsrooms would improve the quality and quantity of reporting about all segments of society.
The first survey in 1978 discovered that members of minority groups held only 3.6% of newsroom jobs. In 2012, the number is a more respectable 12.3% of positions.