Book now: Diversity in the News Media to be debated this Wednesday 18 November

Posted on: November 16, 2020 by Mariella Brown

The lack of diversity in some sections of the news media will form the focus of a dedicated panel discussion this Wednesday 18 November 2020.   

Part of the Society of Editors Virtual Conference for 2020, registration is still open for the free discussion with leading journalists due to discuss what more can – and should – be done to increase diversity in newsrooms.

Chaired by PA Managing Director and former HuffPost UK Editor-in-Chief Polly Curtis, the panel will also include Leon Mann, Broadcaster and Founder of the Black Collective of Media in Sport, Eleanor Mills, Founder and CEO of and Chair of Women in Journalism (WIJ), Shingi Mararike, News Reporter at The Sunday Times and Vic Motune, Head of News at The Voice.

Alongside a focus on how diverse talent from BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) backgrounds and other underrepresented communities can be supported to pursue a career in journalism, the discussion will also consider how newsrooms can increase engagement with marginalised communities and better attract and retain diverse voices in fields such as reporting sport, politics and other areas of journalism.

The debate comes as panellist Eleanor Mills has argued that diversity is “not just a ‘nice to have’ or a politically correct mantra but is entirely core to newspapers continuing to be relevant”, in a recent piece for Press Gazette.

Outlining the issues facing newsrooms, the WiJ chair stated how representation is critical to every facet of a newspaper – a principle which must extend far beyond those who are hired to write.  

“Senior editors need to insist on stories about women or black and BAME folks with agency, doing great things in their own right. The black women breaking into the Rich List. The Somali refugee who has won a place at Oxford. Those at the top have to signal the paper needs them. If the media is to be a true reflective mirror of our society and not a distorting lens then we need to see different kinds of people in positions of power, or hear about how they are stepping up,” she said.

Mills concluded, “If we want new, younger, more diverse readers then we have to change newspapers to represent them.”

Ian Murray, Executive Director of the Society said that the debate would focus on practical steps for encouraging diversity in the media as well as a no-holds-barred look at why there continued to be a lack of representation in some aspects of the UK news media.

He said: “We all know the industry faces a challenge in creating newsrooms that truly reflect the diverse communities they represent. We have known this for some time, but although there has been a great deal of work done to try and resolve the issue, the challenge remains. This panel will take the gloves off and tackle the hard issues of just what could and should be done.”

Registration for Wednesday’s free ‘Diversity in the News Media’ discussion is open.

Details of how to register for all the Society’s free conference debates and talks are available here.