While “progress has been made”, diversity statistics concerning the intersection of gender, race and class in British journalism remain “shocking”, according to a new report by the Women in Journalism organisation.
The report, ‘A week in British news’, studied 100 hours of prime-time radio and television, alongside the front pages of major newspapers, over the course of the week beginning 13 July.
Although the one-week methodology was not exhaustive, WIJ claimed it provides a “snapshot” of the level of diversity in today’s media landscape.
The report, funded by Tesco, discovered that out of 174 front-page bylines counted, one in four went to women. It also found that not a single Black reporter was featured on any of the front pages.
The study’s main emphasis was on the intersection of gender and race. It found that Black women made up one out of 111 people quoted on front pages and four out of 723 radio reporter appearances, during the week in question.
The study concluded: “The time for bromides is past – this report demands action.” WIJ say they approached the managing editors of newspapers and producers of all the outlets monitored asking them for their own figures on diversity. At the time of publication they had not received any numbers.”
Eleanor Mills, chair of Women in Journalism and former editorial director of the Sunday Times, said: “we believe that the media has to be a reflective mirror of society, not a distorting lens.”
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s “The Media Show” yesterday (16 September), she added: “I think it really matters now, when we have a much more diverse country, that none of the people running the coverage have any experience often of what they are writing about.”