Journalism fails to reflect diversity as white middle classes dominate

Today’s
journalists are typically young, childless, white and middle-class research
reveals.

However,
the most startling statistic is the lack of journalists from minority ethnic
groups – 96 per cent  are white with the
remainder largely black or Asian.

The
Journalists at Work survey of UK journalists carried out by the Journalism
Training Forum (JTF) with help from the Publishing National Training
Organisation, Skillset and the National Union of Journalists found that 67 per
cent of  the 1,238 journalists who
completed questionnaires were under 40, some 41 per cent are divorced, widowed
or single and 77 per cent have no dependent children. Some 40 per cent of
journalists in the magazine sector are under 30.

Carlton
UK TV Television  chief executive Clive
Jones, speaking at Monday’s launch of the report in central London, commented:
"When Greg Dyke described the BBC as `hideously white’ he was wrong only
in the use of the word ‘hideously’. The industry really needs to look at ways
of attracting non-white people into journalism to reflect British society today."

JTF
chairman Ian Hargreaves said: "Journalism is no longer… an occupation
that draws upon the strengths and talents of the whole of our society. This
research confirms what has long been suspected, that not only has journalism
become a graduate-only profession, it has also become an occupation to which
entry is very nearly impossible for young people from non-middle class
homes."

"Given
that so much journalism is concentrated in London and the South East… the
numbers of black and Asian journalists working in Britain is pitifully
small," he added.

The
survey found the average salary in journalism is £22,500, with 34 per cent of
respondents earning less than £20,000 and a fifth more than £40,000. On average
women earn £5,000 less than men, while journalists work an average of 41.6
hours per week.

Some
58 per cent of journalists have a formal relevant qualification and of those
who had entered journalism in the last three years, 68 per cent had an average
debt of £4,750.

As
for high levels of childlessness, this was put down to the relatively low age
of respondents, poor wages, and the lower proportion of female respondents in
the upper age quartile.

The
bodies behind the research called on the media industry to do more to attract
young people from ethnic minorities and poor backgrounds into journalism.

The
report was based on answers in 1,238 completed questionnaires – some 10,737
were sent to journalists earlier this year.

By John Charlton

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