Major U.S. Newspapers Dominated by Elite University Graduates

It definitely makes a difference in the coverage, as (having been around those elite-type people and having looked at the data myself) there’s a stark contrast between what’s covered and what powerful interests are doing that’s important. I would also connect this with another study that I read recently, which further verified the relevance of op-eds.

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It has been a longstanding criticism of the news media that at least some portions of it are too culturally and socially insular. A recent study published in the Journal of Expertise adds some data points to that thesis.

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The researchers found that both the Times and the Journal are overwhelmingly dominated by graduates of America’s elite schools. Around 44 percent of Times employees attended elite schools, as did nearly 50 percent of Journal employees, the study found. Among staff writers (as opposed to the broader pool, which included editors, contributors, and others whose job titles did not fall cleanly into another major category), elite school overrepresentation was still higher, with almost 52 percent of writers at the Times and 54 percent of writers at the Journal attending elite schools. Among this group, the top 1 percent in cognitive ability is overrepresented by around 50 to one. What’s more, the researchers found that approximately 20 percent of overall employees, and 28 percent of just editors and writers, attended Ivy League schools.