Yesterday, in response to consternation among media types over the demise of conservative news and opinion magazine The Weekly Standard, I argued that if “mainstream” media types were so concerned about it they ought to try hiring more conservatives.
I received a lot of feedback on that post through various mediums, and one consistent and well-made point I thought was worth following up on was that not many conservatives choose to pursue careers in the news media to begin with.
Case in point:
Conservatives avoid journalism as a career for several reasons. If there was a conservative quota, would media be able to fill?
— Brent N Winkelman (@bnwink56) December 18, 2018
It’s a fair rebuttal. While there’s no question now that America’s newsrooms are overwhelmingly populated by people who lean to the left politically, how exactly do media organizations bring in more viewpoint diversity if there aren’t many right-of-center candidates to hire?
Note that I said “aren’t that many.” In the more than 15 years I’ve been writing about politics I’ve met and worked with many people with conservative/libertarian viewpoints who are doing great work in reporting/editing/producing. These people mostly work for small, ideological organizations or publications. They could be, and should be, hired by more traditional news outlets.
But these people are relatively small in number, and often their path to the news media was (like mine) not traditional. Which is to say they started out pursuing a different career, and ended up working in news later.
What we need are more conservatives who choose journalism as a vocation.
How do we accomplish this?
Perhaps a good use of money at one of these right-of-center foundations could start a scholarship program for conservative students looking to enter journalism school? That would seem like a good start, though I’m open to ideas.
My larger point here is that conservatives (including me) can’t bellyache about the lack of viewpoint diversity in the news media if conservatives aren’t willing to work in the news media. A willingness on behalf of media organizations to address their monolithic ideological bent is just half of the battle.