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Reporting on a diverse Britain

A new guide to help journalists to respond to the challenges of reporting on an ever more diverse Britain has been launched by the Society of Editors and the Media Trust.

It was created as a practical guide for working journalists to help them report accurately and fairly on issues arising from the varied communities in their own neighbourhoods.

Reporting Diversity was funded by the Community Cohesion Unit at the Home Office.

The booklet is endorsed by broadcaster Sir Trevor McDonald, who said: “I commend it to everyone whose job is reporting these stories.”

Leicester Mercury editor Nick Carter, whose city has an ethnic minority population of more than 40 per cent, said in a foreword to the book: “The assumptions editors might have been reasonably comfortable to make a few years ago are almost certainly far too flimsy to work on now.

“Of these changes, one of the most important is the size and significance of different cultural and faith groups.

“Our awareness of the issues that can develop around these changes is helping to drive the debate about community cohesion, how it can be best achieved and what the role is for the media in this process.”

The book’s introduction, by the Society’s executive director Bob Satchwell and the Trust’s chief executive Caroline Diehl, said: “The media has a vital role to play in driving forward the process of making our communities exactly that – communities that are inclusive, successful and tolerant.

“It will help journalists as they report the integration of new people, new ideas, new cultures and new faiths into cohesive communities, accepting that inaccuracy or insensitivity may damage progress being made in representing communities fairly and faithfully.”

The Home Office is confident that such a booklet – created for the media industry by the media industry – will help journalists to avoid falling into traps of “language, emphasis and ignorance”.