Earlier this week the Vancouver Sun built an entire edition around the changing diversity of surnames in the city. In 1991, Smith was the most common surname in the City. Today it is Lee. In fact, the city’s top ten surnames are: Lee, Wong, Chan, Smith, Kim, Chen, Gill, Li, Brown, and finally… Johnson.
But look below. As part of its coverage of the recent (and frightening) increase in murders by organized crime the Sun had one bit entitled “Reader Responses.”
Anyone else notice that all of the Sun’s “readers” are white, over-45 and, with one exception, male? Nary a Lee, a Chan, nor a Gill in the lot.
There are two possible problems here.
The first is that this actually is a representative sample of Sun readers, and the owner/editor of the newspaper should be deeply concerned. This is after all, a shrinking demographic that is not representative of the broader population.
Alternatively, the Sun’s readership is in reality more diverse and its editors or journalists chose to eschew that diversity and make this group an example of the city’s opinions.
I suspect it is a little of both.
Either way, for an industry that is failing to attract younger and more diverse readers, it doesn’t take an MBA to know things like this send a powerful message about who you believe your audience is, and who you want it to be.