At a recent gathering of top newspaper journalists, Jon Snow was heard to remark upon the singular lack of non-white faces on show. Broadcast news has made far greater headway in recruiting ethnic minority journalists, he noted.
His views are echoed by research commissioned by the Commission for Racial Equality, to be published shortly. When Mori pollsters asked people from Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi, Black African and Black Caribbean backgrounds their views of careers in the print media, 21 per cent said they thought there was racism in the industry. Further research, done by the Working Lives Research Institute, also shows how little progress has been made in finding and retaining talent from these groups.
Editors might point out that they aren’t getting deluged by ethnic minority applicants. But that is largely beside the point. A greater proportion of young people from those communities say they want to work in the media than from society at large.
CRE boss Trevor Phillips says he’s sure that ethnic minority recruits are treated and judged differently from their white counterparts. Bosses may not feel hostile to employing them, but they don’t have enough faith in them.
The findings of the CRE’s latest research may not be news to many, but they are nonetheless shaming.
Meanwhile, Press Gazette has been carrying out its own survey of the big publishing groups to see how willing they are to give details of the proportion of ethnic minority journalists they employ. The results, which will be published in a few weeks, will not make uplifting reading.