Skip to content

British Newsrooms Playing Catch Up to Support Diversity

Diverse newsrooms are vital, but a past lack of support must be addressed to protect them, says News UK’s Head of Creative Diversity.

Mark Hudson’s comments came during a Journalism and Media Week panel alongside News UK colleagues Georgia Lambert, Junior Reporter at The Times, and Ellie Henman, Showbiz News Editor at The Sun.

The panel, aimed at delivering advice on breaking into the journalism industry, touched on the issue of diversity in the newsroom.

When asked why it was important, Mark said: “The demographics in this country are changing… therefore the audience is changing.

“To make sure you’ve got the best ideas for tomorrow’s edition… the only way to have that is to make sure you’ve got diversity of thought in your newsroom.”

However, the level of support offered to young journalists has historically been poor, with newbies left to deal with abuse from readers and within the newsroom. He said: “Particularly in the last few years, there’s been an acknowledgement that we need to be more mindful of journalists mental health”.

While all journalists face abuse, for those not straight, white, male or neurotypical, this abuse is often more personally targeted. A 2021 government report found that over a third of female journalists felt unsafe, and a third of journalists from ethnic minority backgrounds had experienced racism resulting from their job.

Mark said: “There’s a lot of abuse that particularly journalists from LGBTQ+ backgrounds face, that journalists from various ethnicities face, whether their story is about issues around those communities or not”.

The effects of this abuse can also affect the hiring process. Building up contacts and sending in tips were some of Panellist Ellie Henman’s key advice for getting hired. However, in the government report, it was reported that 70% of respondents were ‘not at all’ certain that their reports of abuse on social media would be taken seriously. Ensuring that journalists feel safe to reach out and speak up is a key matter that News UK have sought to address, according to Mark.

Recently News UK have set up a series of support groups available for those seeking support, although Mark could not speak for the rest of industry. He made clear, however, that the process was still in its early stages and more work needed to be done.

His core message was that young journalists need to speak up about what support they need, as a variety of approaches are needed to ensure everyone can receive the correct support for their situation.

News UK Panel at Leeds Trinity Journalism and Media Week

What do you think?