The recruitment of a mainly graduate-only workforce is a major cause of the lack of diversity in newsrooms, a new report has concluded.
Research commissioned by the National Council for the Training of Journalists says students from minority groups are not being attracted to the industry and also cites “probably unconscious” selection bias by employers as a cause of the problem.
However, they were more likely to be working as journalists six months after graduation if they were male, white, from higher social economic backgrounds and able-bodied.
Mark, who presented the report at the NCTJ’s journalism skills conference yesterday, called for the creation of more journalism apprenticeships to help tackle the problem.
He wrote: “Concerns have existed about the diversity of journalists in the UK for 15 years, and the most recent research suggests that these remain.
“On balance, when compared with the British population and the rest of those working in the UK, journalists are more likely to be older, white, from higher social classes and to have been educated to high levels (ie, have a degree or higher level of qualification).
“While data on the extent to which the rank and file of journalists have been privately educated is incomplete, the evidence that we have suggests that among the ranks of senior journalists a far greater proportion have been privately educated than across the UK population as a whole.”
As a result of his findings, Mark recommended the development of an “alternative stream” of non-graduate journalism entrants created through schemes such as modern apprenticeships – an idea already being pioneered by both Newsquest and Johnston Press.
He also urged greater publicity for journalism as a career among ethnic minority groups, and called on the NCTJ to work with employers to address issues of recruitment bias.