How do we tackle the lack of diversity in journalism? Not just the diversity of the journalists but the content they create?
Even though trends show more and more women working as reporters, newsrooms in both Sweden and the UK are very homogenous when it comes to ethnicity and socio-economic background.
Studies show people and stories portrayed in the media are far from representative of the population as a whole.
Though there are employment schemes aiming at diversifying newsrooms, these are bound to take time before showing a significant effect.
With a growing awareness of a lack of diversity in media content, what are today’s journalists doing to find a diverse group of sources and interviewees?
Tricks for Diversity
As a freelance journalist covering many fields and topics, I often find myself using every trick in the book to find a wide range of interviewees. With time often being scarce,
I understand the temptation in relying on your established network.
This made me interested in journalistic practice in finding a diverse group of sources and interviewees. No matter their own background, most journalists hopefully find it important to portray a diverse range of people. What practical methods do they use to make sure they do? Is this something being discussed in newsrooms?
Can Social Media Help?
I am also interested in what role social media might have in diversifying one’s network. At a time when many journalists are under constant pressure from lack of time and resources, a lot of networking needs to be done in front of one’s computer rather than out talking to people. Is it easier finding a diverse group of interviewees online rather than through classic journalistic groundwork?
During my fellowship at Polis, I will talk to journalists in different fields and positions, from both Sweden and the UK, about what methods they use to find sources and interviewees that fall outside the frame of who’s usually portrayed in the media, as well as outside the journalists’ own networks. My hope is to produce an article about the journalistic methods and tools behind creating a diverse content, aimed at journalists interested in developing their own practice.
If you have any views or evidence on this topic, please get in touch:
@bromander | email@example.com
I ran a work experience (paid) scheme at Thames and a version of it at the BBC. I was lucky to be independent on this and actually took on people regardless of qualifications or accent. Thames was a high volume, pretty big operation and people could start with basic tasks, and the ones who had talent made it through. Those who were not from the usual background needed more support but that approach paid off. The programmes were so much better for it with original ideas, and contributors who were more varied and interesting. Yes, it took longer for writing skills to develop but it was a massively satisfying process and it provided not only researchers and later producer directors but also camera ops, sound people and editors. Just open the door – there are too many hurdles.