Letter

March 11, 2021

Dear U.K. journalism colleagues,

 

We are journalists of colour from all over the U.K., as well as White allies committed to equality. We represent a broad spectrum of disciplines—ranging broadcast and print to digital and social media—and job functions, from full-time staff to freelance journalists.

 

In 2020, we watched and reported as the world called for change. In the wake of the senseless death of George Floyd, people all over the world bravely protested police brutality against Black people and sent a clear message that Black Lives Matter. What occurred last year was a flashpoint in global race relations. Ethnic minorities are tired of being marginalised and having their dignity denigrated in society, in the justice system, in healthcare, in education and in the workplace.

 

Many industries, including our media siblings in film and television and publishing, vowed change, committing to greater diversity within the workplace, unconscious bias training and/or schemes to support colleagues of colour. Yet, while we are happy to report on, and steer public opinion of, other industries’ historic lack of diversity, it seems we are reluctant to confront the stark racial disparities that exist in U.K. newsrooms.

 

Journalism is still 94 percent White, according to a survey of 700 news industry workers conducted by City University London in 2016. But according to the last Census in 2011, White people make up 87 percent of the population, which means that White journalists are overrepresented in our industry. In comparison, despite making up over 10 percent of the British population, Black, Asian and minority ethnic journalists are woefully underrepresented in our newsrooms. Damningly, only 0.2 percent of journalists in the U.K. media are Black, according to City University’s data, despite making up 3 percent of the population. Asian journalists are also underrepresented, making up 2.5 percent of our industry, despite representing 7 percent of the country. 

 

Around the country, time and again, journalists of colour have been solitary figures in all-White newsrooms, or among a small handful to the dozens—if not hundreds—of white journalists employed. We have been paid less than our White counterparts for similar or equal work. We have been expected to cover, or been seen as only relevant to covering, issues of race. We have been excluded from entire section teams, for example sport or culture, as if certain beats are intrinsically White. We have been hired in entry-level or junior roles with little opportunity for progression. We have been excluded from senior roles, including editorship and management.

 

These structural inequalities are compounded by entrenched classism in our industry that benefits journalists from privileged—typically White and middle class—backgrounds to  the detriment of journalists from working class backgrounds. In 2016, The Sutton Trust found that over half of the country’s “leading journalists” are privately educated (51 percent) and attended university at Oxbridge (54 percent). Additionally, 80 percent of top editors at U.K. publications are privately educated. This compared to privately educated people making up just 7 percent of the population, and Oxbridge attendees making up 1 percent of the country. Taking into account that members of Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities are more likely to experience lower socioeconomic status than their White counterparts, journalists of colour from working class backgrounds are put at a double disadvantage.

 

These issues are a concern for us all, journalists of colour and our allies, and should be a concern for our entire industry.

 

If we as publications are the mirror through which the world sees itself reflected back, do we not have a responsibility to reflect the necessary systemic changes that are taking place outside our industry?

 

In order to better reflect the diversity of the country our publications represent, we call on all newsrooms in the U.K. to commit to meaningful change now.

 

We ask that U.K. publications:

 

  • Hire more journalists from diverse ethnic and working class backgrounds; national and international newsrooms must strive to proportionately represent the minority population of the U.K. per 2011 Census data
  • Ensure racial and class diversity at all levels of the newsroom—not just in junior or entry-level roles, but top down from executive editors to interns
  • Ensure racial diversity across all beats, from current affairs to sports
  • Ensure racial diversity in all freelance work, ranging from commissions to retainment of casual shift workers

 

A central tenet of journalism is holding the powerful to account. That simply cannot preclude looking inwardly at our own newsroom practices any longer. 

 

Therefore, we also call on U.K. publications to:

 

  • Publish data on the diversity make-up of their newsroom
  • Publish data on race pay gaps

 

Please join us in creating diverse and vibrant newsrooms so our profession can continue to flourish.

 

Sincerely,

 

The undersigned,

 

Tufayel Ahmed, Journalist/editor, Freelance

Emma Fraser, Freelance writer, Various publications including Elle, Little White Lies, Collider, What to Watch, Vulture 

Jack Moore, Editor, AFP

Sofia Lotto Persio, Assistant editor, Forbes

Mic Wright, Writer and editor, Freelance

Ewan Palmer, Reporter, Newsweek

Claire Toureille, Reporter, Mailonline

Helen O'Hara, Film journalist, Freelance / Empire

Leonore Schick, Journalist / video and audio producer, Freelance: AP/ Audible / Property Week

Travis Levius, Freelance Journalist, Various outlets 

Christina Zhao, Senior editor politics, Newsweek

Hannah Twiggs, Premium subeditor, The Independent

Oliver Keens, Journalist, Here and there 

Alice de la Chapelle, Journalist , Aljazeera

Roy Chacko, News reporter, Ilford Recorder/Archant

madhvi ramani, journalist, freelance

Nadine Peters, Producer / Researcher, Freelance (podcasting & broadcasting)

Hanna Flint, Critic and Journalist, Freelance 

Sharan Dhaliwal, Editor and writer, Burnt Roti

R Leigh, Freelance editor, NA

Mitchell Labiak, Reporter, Property Week

Kyle Mark Robinson, Film Critic, Everythinglowery

Christa Ktorides, former film journalist

Dean Abdou, Journalist, LADbible

Dom Peppiatt, Freelance editor / copywriting consultant, Red Bull, VG247, various others

Dr Lloyd (Meadhbh) Houston,Academic and Freelance Journalist, University of Oxford; Goldsmiths, University of London; Eurogamer

Thomas Marchant, Web programmer, ReedPop UK

Gwen, Programme Manager, Gltich

Jodie Taylor, Freelance writer, Home based

Manu Ekanayake, Freelance culture journalist, Various web and print outlets

Chantal Da Silva, Journalist, Freelance 

Elisabeth Perlman, Editor/ writer, The Times

Estelle Honnorat, Freelance journalist/director, France

Alex, Writer, Freelance

Hannah Cowton, Staff Writer, Tech Advisor and Macworld UK

Jyoti Mann, Journalist, Freelance

Donnacha DeLong, Online Communications Consultant, Self-employed

Isabel Togoh, Associate Editor, Forbes' breaking news desk, Forbes

Amy West, Film & TV journalist, Freelancer for Digital Spy and Total Film

Olivia Crellin, BBC journalist and Founder of PressPad, BBC World News 

Natasha Henry, Journalist/Broadcaster, Various 

Rémy Cabache, Journalist, Freelance

Jon Brady, Local Democracy Reporter, JPIMedia

Mared Parry, Journalist, Daily Star + others

Theo Chikomba, Broadcast Journalist, BBC News 

James Daly, Games Journalist, GAMINGbible

Katherine Hignett, Reporter, Freelance

Hugh Radojev, Senior reporter, Retail Week 

Hannah Partos, journalist, freelance

Alice Anderson, Edit producer, Channel 4 News

Rachael Healy, Freelance journalist, The Guardian, the i, VICE, etc

Dan Peters, News editor, The MJ

Siobhan, Editor, LinkedIn

Valeriia Voshchevska, Digital marketing, Amnesty

Sammy Mngqosini, Journalist , Freelance 

Ashanti Omkar FRSA, BBC Broadcaster, Film Critic, Freelance Writer

Malik Bu Essah, Editor,Newsroom

Surena Chande, Freelance content writer and journalist, Freelance

Zahra, Journalist, Current Affairs programmes

Yusuf Khan, Market Reporter, Argus Media

Rupinder Dhaliwal, Digital content producer, Charity sector 

Tamzin Wilks, Assistant editor, Future plc 

Mirren Gidda, Investigative Journalist, Liberty Investigates 

Anthony Cuthbertson, Journalist, The Independent

Aimée Grant Cumberbatch, Editor and writer, Bustle UK

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy, Freelance Copywriter, Various

Hikmat Mohammed, Fashion journalist, The Telegraph 

Sophia Waterfield, Freelance Journalist, The Calm Room Ltd. 

Mariana Cerqueira, Editor, Future PLC

Christine Dawson, Freelance journalist, UK

Eleanor Bley Griffiths, Drama Editor, RadioTimes.com, Immediate Media

Huw Fullerton, Sci-Fi and Fantasy Editor, RadioTimes.com

Katherine Price, News editor, The Caterer

Caroline Baldwin, Journalist, JMG

Kate Thomas, Lifestyle journalist, Hello

Lisa jenkins, Journalist, London

Ellie Ransome, Paid media manager, Wavemaker global

Eleanor Noyce, Student/Freelance journalist, FUZZY Magazine

Georgia Pickard, Marketing manager , UK

Megan Nolan, Author and journalist, Freelance, columnist for New Statesman

Jem Bartholomew, Reporter, Freelance

Olivia Cheves, Junior Content Editor, DesignMyNight

Naina Bajekal, Editorial Director of Newsroom Development and Deputy International Editor, TIME

Katie Silcox, Photo Editor, Freelance 

Germaine Slater-Arnold, Sub-editor, The Times

Hannah Mylrea, Associate Producer, NME

Kathryn Bromwich, Journalist, The Guardian

Billy Perrigo, Reporter, TIME

Rachel Muller-Heyndyk, Journalist and fact checker, Various

Bonnie McLaren, Ents writer, Grazia

Lisa Jenkins, Journalist, London

Bella Evennett-Watts, Journalist, Bauer Media 

Lauren Kay-Lambert, Co-Managing Director, Shape History

Mar Campdepadros, Former Social Vid Producer at the Evening Standard and MailOnline

Isabella Cipirska, Journalist, JPIMedia

Danielle Da Silva, photodocumentary/filmmaker, Photographers Without Borders

Marcela Kunova, Editor, Journalism.co.uk

Beena nadeem, Freelance journalist

Suyin Haynes, Journalist, TIME magazine

Amelia Gabaldoni, Editorial Assistant, The Sunday Times

Khaleda Rahman, Reporter, Newsweek

Danny Hussain, Senior Reporter at the Mail Online

Clarisse Loughrey , Film Critic, Freelance 

Gabriella, Deputy Movies Editor, Hearst UK

Tom Percival, News/Social Editor, UNILAD

Billie Melissa, Entertainment Journalist, Freelance 

Ella Kemp, Film and music criticism, Empire, NME, Letterboxd, Little White Lies, The Quietus, Girls on Tops

Rachael Sigee, Freelance Journalist, Multiple outlets

Eammon Jacobs, Freelance Entertainment Journalist, Fandom/Heroic Hollywood/RadioTimes/Flickering Myth

Mike McCahill, Film/TV critic, The Guardian, Reader's Digest

Matt Taylor, Student journalist/Freelancer 

Hannah Ryan, Digital Programming Intern, CNN

Indigo Jones, Student Journalist, Cardiff University 

Bella Kennedy, Freelance Film Journalist, FilmHounds, Film Cred

Josh Ong Trainee MA Magazine Journalist

Imogen Killner, Content Writer, Niche Website Builders

Tom Beasley, Film/Entertainment Journalist, Freelance

Rosalie Falla, Broadcast journalist, ITV 

Taj Ali, Freelance Journalist, Freelance

Sara Badawi, Comms, Hacked Off - Campaign for a free and accountable press

Andreas Koumi, Manage youth communications charity, Exposure Organisation London

John Steel, Research Prof in Journalism, University of Derby

Mark Hudson, Head of Early Talent, News UK

Mohammed Ali, Writer, Our Impact

Dan Stewart, International editor, TIME 

Matthew Jones, Assistant Producer, Times Radio

Gabriel Partos, Political analysis, Freelance

Tim Walker, Journalist, The New European 

Danny Thompson, News reporter, Coventry Telegraph 

Rene Millman, Freelance journalist

Robin Wilson, editor-in-chief of Social Europe

Jasmine Dotiwala, Multimedia broadcaster, Reporter Channel 4 News Netflix/ Media Trust/ Channel 4 News/ITN

Amy Ashenden, Video and features, Freelance

Better Media UK, Help people to be the media, know the media, change the media UK

Rebecca Armstrong, Features editor, The i paper

Danielle Richardson, Journalist, Which?

Richard Preston, Deputy night editor, The Guardian

Darcy Jimenez, journalist, Pharmafocus

Donna Ferguson, Freelance journalist, The Observer 

Oghenerume Ugen, Journalist, ITV

Al Booth, Freelance Broadcaster and Writer, BBC & freelance 

Katharine Quarmby, Self-employed journalist and editor

Kate Lee, Film and entertainment publicity, Partner and founder at freud communications

Josh Lowe, Freelance editor and writer

Tim Alden, Art Director, The ‘i’ newspaper (DMGT)

Sian Meades-Williams, Writer and editor self-employed

Nina Robinson, Senior journalist / lecturer/ doc maker, Birmingham City University ex -BBC 

Anita Boniface, Freelance journalist, ftAdviser

Celia, Counsellor and wellbeing journalist, Mind in mid herts

Simoney Kyriakou, Senior Editor, trade title FTAdviser, Financial Times Group

Nisha Parti, Film and Tv Producer, Parti Productions 

Sarah Myles, Producer, Freelance 

David Brennan, Reporter, Newsweek

Camille Mijola, Journalist/Researcher, Avaaz and The Times

Ana de Liz, Journalist, Fastmarkets / EuroMoney

Kelly Pedro, Journalist, Zeitspace

Chavala Madlen, Journalist, Freelance 

Andrea Gilbert, Boxing and politics journalist, Freelance

Daniel Sperling, Showbiz Reporter, The Sun 

Rosie Hopegood, Freelance Journalist, Freelance

Anna Jin, Student Journalist, University of Manchester

Tasnim Nazeer, Journalist, Freelance 

Suchandrika Chakrabarti, Journalist, Freelance

Rose Stokes, Journalist and columnist, Freelance 

Pavan Amara, Former journalist

Ruby Gregory, Journalist, Freelance 

Camille Nedelec, Desk journalist, France 24

Thomas Stichbury, Journalist, Attitude Magazine

Jamie Wilde, Freelance Music & Arts Journalist

Lowri Astley, Journalist, Freelance

Kate Banura Eagles, Trainee Journalist, News Associates 

Fatima Hudoon, Early Career Journalist, The Bristol Cable

Najmeh, freelance

Matthew Field, Technology Reporter, Telegraph

Andy, investigative docs,freelance

Joni Sommerville, multimedia journalism graduate 

Laura E, News editor, SWNS

Habibur Rahman, Head of video

Nerea Zambrano, Video Editor and Contributor, Empoword Journalism

Stefania Gozzer, Freelance journalist 

David Wadmore, Semi retired publications designer, Freelance

Emanuel Stoakes, Freelance, Write / have written for a range of outlets internationally

Sabuhi Gard, Freelance journalist, writer, author, copywriter, Yardstick Agency

Kathryn Liston, Freelance journalist, Mainly The Telegraph 

Hannah Carr, Freelance, Various 

Oprah Flash, Reporter, Reach Plc

Simon Speakman Cordall, Reporter, Freelance

Hannah Wales, Journalist, Cover Media

Amber Sunner, Editor and Journalist, PressPad

Conor Dignam, CEO, MBI

George Crafer, Student Journalist

Faima Bakar, Reporter

Regina Abena Nyametscher Severin, Former freelance journalist The Voice, The V&A & Writer 

Donal Griffin, Reporter, Bloomberg News

Ellie O'Mahoney, Magazine journalism, News UK

Lina-Sirine Zitout, Producer, TRT WORLD

Salahuddin Mazhary, Interview Producer , TRT WORLD

Paul W. Bagnall, Freelance Reporter

Richard Welbirg, Head of Content, SportBusiness

Manu Ekanayake, Music and culture journalist, Freelance 

Hash Piperdy, Curator, Twitter UK

Matt Whale, Newsroom Technician, London South Bank University

Bethany Dawson, Journalist, Freelance

Lisa McLoughlin, Journalist, Freelance

Luke Bishop, PR/ Comms, The RCVS 

Alex Wood , Managing Director, Forbes

Sonaili Vasta, student journalist

Ayanda Ntuli, Student in International Journalism 

Eloise Barry, Freelance Journalist

Clarisel Gonzalez, Editor and Publisher, Clarisel Media

Rhiannon Williams, Technology correspondent, i newspaper

Michael Drummond, Journalist, PA Media

Lara von der Brelie, journalism student

Aimina Hussain, journalism student

Dhruva Balram, Freelance Journalist

Elisa Menendez, Reporter, Metro.co.uk

Nishtha Chugh, Journalist, Independent

Jennifer McCall, Journalist, TV journalism 

Will Harris, Broadcast journalist, BBC

Clare Bell Lecturer TUDublin

Matt Murphy, Freelance journalist, Various (BBC, Sky, The Independent, Immediate Media)

Stephen Bush, Political Editor, New Statesman

Bex Bastable, Editor, JPIMedia

Dev Trehan, sub-editor, Sky

Nola Ojomu, US Entertainment Reporter, Metro.co.uk