Ethnic diversity in journalism 'troublingly low'

Posted by Richard McKenna

A lack of ethnic diversity in journalism has been highlighted by a new report from the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ).

Data collected by the organisation showed that 94 per cent of journalists are white, compared to 91 per cent of the population being white. In 2002, the last time a major survey of this kind was carried out in the industry, 96 per cent of journalists were white, compared to 94 per cent of the population being white.

While this shows some progress in terms of workplace diversity has been made within journalism in the last decade, there is a long way to go for the industry.

It was revealed by the NCTJ that 137 diverse students have received financial backing for their training from the Journalism Diversity Fund since 2006 to 2007.

Ian Hargreaves, chair of the research project, stated the report shows ethnic diversity in journalism remains "troublingly low". He pointed out that this is especially the case for a sector where the vast majority of people work in either London or the south-east of England.

"The parents of journalists tend themselves to work in higher status jobs. Unpaid internships are common and levels of student debt are much higher than ten years ago. On gender, the picture is less troubling: on this report's evidence, women seem to match men in terms of overall numbers and levels of seniority," he said.

Journalism is a sector in a state of flux, with talks over the foundation of a new independent regulator for the press ongoing following the publication of the Leveson report.

Research by the NCTJ also found 82 per cent of journalists working in the UK now have a degree and more than a third have a post-graduate qualification as well.

"There remains concern in the 2012 report that journalism is an occupation where social class impacts on the likelihood of entering the profession," the NCTJ said.