And while there have never been that many op-ed or metro columnists in other minority groups Latino, Asian American or Native American, black columnists had made significant headway in securing these jobs. Now, they are being hit hardest in losing them. Since 2008, newspapers have laid off, reassigned, or retired at least 21 black opinion writers, according to the Maynard Institute’s Richard Prince. In 2011, Prince called the exodus of black opinion writers “a depressing trend.”Prince is also a member of The Trotter Group, founded in 1992 by three high-level black columnists not only to increase the number of black columnists at mainstream daily newspapers, but also to nurture and educate future black opinion writers. The group is still in existence but has seen its numbers plummet from a high of about 40 members to now anywhere from eight to 12, co-founder Les Payne said.Two things drove the formation of The Trotter Group: the lack of African Americans on Sunday morning news shows—at the time, guests were predominantly white newspaper columnists.