Industry Reflection – Journalism’s lack of diversity threatens it’s long-term future

When people think about diversity the first thing which usually comes to mind is to do with colour, race or sexual orientation. This however is not the case. Diversity comes in as many forms as there are differences in people.

It will never be physically possible to represent all aspects of society, however it can and should be seen as a general representation of the people they serve.

An article written for journalism.co.uk by Caroline Scott on  25th October 2016 called-

How news organisations are starting to tackle the lack of diversity in sports journalism, it explained how, as a whole the media industry is becoming more representative but some areas are still struggling.

The main are highlighted was sports reporting. It states: ‘Only 9.6 per cent of the 456 media roles covering the Olympics, Paralympics, Euros and Wimbledon in 2016 were of Black, Asian or minority ethnic origin.’

Whilst I see why this is a concern, I must ask a question: is it the media companies who are not recruiting a diverse team, or, are they making recruitment choices based on the people which apply?

Without question journalism as an industry needs to make itself more attractive to a multi-cultural intake of wanna be reporters, producers and broadcasters but how?

Harrison Jones from the Guardian said on 4th August 2016 that 51% of the top 100 journalists went to public school. In the same article the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) was quoted as saying our industry remains ‘the preserve of the privileged.’

Not all but most of the top jobs (paid and work experience placements) are London based, therefore unless you are based in the south, or have a heavily supportive external source of income this can be problematic.

A contradiction to that is our own Nicky Harley. Whilst not it the top 100, she began at a local level, worked really hard in perfecting her craft and was fearless in her ambition.

The media is not a one shoe fits all. Media outlets need to produce the like of content that consumers want if not, people wont buy the publications or tune in to the broadcasts.

To do this we need to understand what, as consumers want.

I don’t believe in having a person of diverse race just to tick a box, but if it makes someone think, ‘I get who they are and what they are saying’ or ‘I could do that’. It’s a good thing.

Conversations need to be had with people of all ages to figure out the best plan going forward.

 

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