May 28, 2014 9:00 am

As the New York Times’ first black executive editor, Dean Baquet is in a distinct minority

Credit: AP Images
Credit: AP Images

Just as the May 14 dismissal of New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson sparked a debate about gender roles in journalism, the ascension of Dean Baquet—the first African-American to run the paper’s newsroom—has renewed the focus on minority hiring in the news industry.

If Baquet is an historic figure at the Times, he is also part of a small minority at U.S. news outlets. Our data analysis finds that in newspaper newsrooms, the percentage of overall staffers and supervisors who are black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American or multiracial has remained virtually unchanged in the past two decades—accounting for about one in every 10 positions. The situation is slightly different in broadcast news, where minority staffers are still vastly outnumbered, but their presence has, in some cases, risen modestly.  Read More

Topics: Newspapers, Race and Ethnicity, Television

May 28, 2014 7:00 am

Obama charts a new foreign policy course for a public that wants the focus to be at home

President Obama delivers a speech at West Point. Credit: Roger L. Wollenberg-Pool/Getty Images
President Obama delivers a speech at West Point in 2009. Credit: Roger L. Wollenberg-Pool/Getty Images

President Obama is expected today to lay out his vision for navigating the many foreign challenges now facing the nation at a West Point commencement address. Republican leaders have criticized the administration for failing to exert American leadership abroad, but the speech also comes at a time when the American public has less of an appetite for foreign involvement and believes American clout is not what it used to be.

President Obama addresses cadets at West Point Military AcademyA growing number of Americans want to see the U.S. less involved abroad after more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan. In a Pew Research Center survey last fall, 52% of the public said the U.S. should “mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own” — the first time since 1964 than more than half the public held that view. About four-in-ten (38%) disagreed. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll last month produced similar results.

As crises like the ongoing civil war in Syria and Russia’s annexation of the Ukraine have tested his administration, Obama complained last month about criticism that he was not being tough enough. For example, Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said that the administration had led on anti-government forces in Syria and pro-western elements in Ukraine without doing enough to back them up. Obama said that some of these critics “would go headlong into a bunch of military adventures that the American people had no interest in participating in and would not advance our core security interests.”

In his West Point speech, a top White House foreign policy aide told the New York Times that Obama will make “a case for interventionism but not overreach” when it comes to addressing crises abroad.

About half (51%) of Americans agreed last fall that Obama was not tough enough on foreign policy and national security issues while 37% considered his policies about right. More specifically, an April survey on public reaction to events in the Ukraine found that 40% considered Obama’s response about right while 35% said he was not being tough enough.

Read More

Topics: Foreign Affairs and Policy

May 27, 2014 9:00 am

Mexicans, Dominicans are more Catholic than most other Hispanics

FT_14.05.27_ReligiousAffiliation2The share of Latino adults who identify as Catholic is declining as the share of Protestants and the religiously unaffiliated rise. Today, 55% of Latinos say they are Catholic, a drop of 12 percentage points in the last four years, while the share of those who are Protestant and unaffiliated with any religion has risen, according to a Pew Research Center survey of Latino adults.

But differences exist among Hispanics when they are looked at by their country of origin: Mexicans and Dominicans are more likely than most other Hispanic origin groups to say they are Catholic. Meanwhile, Salvadorans are more likely to say they are evangelical Protestant than Mexicans, Cubans and Dominicans.  Read More

Topics: Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Religious Affiliation

May 27, 2014 7:00 am

From Germany to Mexico: How America’s source of immigrants has changed over a century

Where US immigrants come from, state by state today and a century agoWith more than 40 million immigrants, the United States is the top destination in the world for those moving from one country to another. Mexico, which shares a nearly 2,000-mile border with the U.S., is the source of the largest wave of immigration in history from a single country to the United States.

But today’s volume of immigrants, in some ways, is a return to America’s past. A century ago, the U.S. experienced another large wave of immigrants. Although smaller at 18.2 million, they hailed largely from Europe. Many Americans can trace their roots to that wave of migrants from 1890-1919, when Germany dominated as the country sending the most immigrants to many of the U.S. states, although the United Kingdom, Canada and Italy were also strongly represented. Read More

Topics: Hispanic/Latino Demographics, Immigration, Immigration Trends

May 26, 2014 7:00 am

About half of veterans of post-9/11 wars served with someone who was killed

Veteran Salutes Flag During Parade
Retired Army 1st Sgt. William Staude, of Elliott, Pa., salutes the U.S. flag being carried by soldiers from the 316th Expeditionary Sustainment Command. Credit: The U.S. Army

The practice of dedicating a day to honoring America’s war dead has its roots in the years immediately after the Civil War and was officially declared a national holiday by Congress in 1971 to honor the fallen of all wars.

47% of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans served with someone who was killed during their serviceThe day will be an intensely personal experience for many veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts — about half (47%)  said that they served with a comrade that had been killed, according to a Pew Research Center survey of veterans conducted in 2011. That number rises to 62% among soldiers who were in combat.

Service members who were seriously wounded or knew someone who was killed or seriously wound were more likely to say the wars were worth fighting. In the case of Iraq, 48% of these veterans said the war was worth fighting compared with 36% who said it was not. For Afghanistan, the margin saying the war was worth fighting was higher — 55% to 40%.  Read More

Topics: Military and Veterans, Wars and International Conflicts

May 23, 2014 1:00 pm

Chart of the Week: Is food too cheap for our own good?

chart of food expenditures as percent of disposable income

As you scarf down burgers and potato salad this long Memorial Day weekend, consider this: Americans have the cheapest food in history, and that unprecedented abundance is largely responsible for why we’re so fat.

According to a new article in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, Americans in the 1930s spent a quarter of their disposable income on food. That share has fallen steadily through the decades, to the point where today less than 10% of Americans’ disposable dollars go for food. (That varies across income groups, of course: The poorest 20% of Americans still spend about a third of their disposable income on food.)

And even as the real cost of food goes down, each dollar we spend buys us more calories than it used to. The average American’s total caloric intake (adjusted for spoilage and other waste) rose from 2,109 calories in 1970 to 2,568 calories in 2010, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data — the equivalent of an extra steak sandwich every day. Little surprise, then, that more than 78 million U.S. adults, or 34.9%, were obese in 2011-12 — more than twice the rate found in a 1976-1980 health survey.

It’d be nice to think that all we as a people need to do is exercise more and eat more fruits and vegetables. But as the authors of the new paper point out, we’re already doing that: 51% of people in a 2009 study reported exercising regularly, up from 46% in 2001. Americans, as a whole, also ate more fresh fruits and vegetables in 2010 than they did in 197o (though again, that varies considerably among different groups). “[I]f people had access to more produce or cheaper produce, or just ate more of it, would they eat less candy and be thinner?” the researchers ask in conclusion. “Probably not.”

Category: Chart of the Week

Topics: Health

May 23, 2014 7:00 am

A half century of well-traveled popes

papal trips around the world

Fifty years after Pope Paul VI traveled to the Holy Land on what was the first trip by a pope outside Italy since 1809, Pope Francis will make a pilgrimage to Jordan, the Palestinian territories and Israel this weekend.

This is only Francis’ second trip outside Italy – he went to Brazil last year for World Youth Day – but three of his predecessors have covered a significant percentage of the globe. Led by the prolific travels of Pope John Paul II, pontiffs have reached 135 different countries and territories at least once (not including Vatican City, Italy and San Marino) since 1964. Overall, popes have gone on 139 international trips with more than 250 official country visits, according to travel logs posted on the Vatican’s website.

Poland (10 visits), the United States (nine), Spain and France (eight each) are among the most frequent destinations, but popes also have traveled to small African nations such as Lesotho and Pacific islands such as Fiji. After this weekend, all four popes who’ve traveled outside Europe (Paul VI, John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis) will have visited the Holy Land.

Topics: Catholics and Catholicism

May 22, 2014 11:30 am

Fancy degree? Most Americans say it’s not required to be president

where presidents went to collegeFor almost three decades, the path to the White House has wound through the ivy-coated campuses of the United States’ elite universities. And despite the populist tinge of much of U.S. politics these days, that fact doesn’t appear to bother most Americans.

In a new Pew Research Center survey, a large majority — 74% — of Americans say it wouldn’t matter to them one way or another if a presidential candidate went to “a prestigious university such as Harvard or Yale.” About a quarter say it would matter: 19% say they’d be more likely to support such a candidate while 6% would be less likely. Those views have changed very little since 2007. Read More

Topics: Candidate Traits and Positions, Educational Attainment

May 22, 2014 10:00 am

Key takeaways from our Egypt survey

It’s been nearly a year since former Egyptian president and Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mohamed Morsi, was removed from power by the country’s military, following huge demonstrations in Cairo and throughout the nation. On May 26-27, presidential elections will be held in Egypt, whose fairness has already been questioned and which will almost certainly result in victory for Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, the former general who led the military takeover. As a new Pew Research Center survey highlights, most Egyptians still favor Morsi’s ouster, but the public mood is grim, and Sisi’s support is limited.

1Egypt's Satisfiaction with Direction of CountryEgyptians are about as unhappy with the direction of their country as they were back in spring 2010, less than a year before the revolution that toppled then President Hosni Mubarak, following 18 days of protest in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Today, 72% of Egyptians are dissatisfied with the country’s direction, while just 24% are satisfied.  Read More

Topics: Middle East and North Africa, World Elections

May 22, 2014 6:00 am

Presidential vote may not bridge regional divide in Ukraine

Businessman Petro Poroshenko is the leading candidate in Sunday's Ukraine presidential electionThis Sunday’s presidential election in Ukraine may do little to unite a nation riven by ongoing separatist movements in the country’s east, and haunted by the March secession of Crimea. Our April survey found that businessman Petro Poroshenko, the leading candidate – according to a local poll conducted earlier this month – is much more popular in the country’s west than in the east, where doubts are widespread not only about the candidates but the fairness of the election itself.  Read More

Topics: Eastern Europe