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We need racial equity in the newsrooms

What's New in Publishing 07 Apr 2021 06:35

The last few weeks have been a reality check for the media industry. The ongoing fallout of Meghan Markle’s Oprah interview has enlightened many of us to the problem that we are facing when tackling racism in the press. When a bi-racial woman discusses her experiences of suicidal thoughts and racism it seemingly becomes a moment to form an opinion, with some from the top of the industry having the confidence to storm into the conversation and state that the UK media is not bigoted.

We need to stop denying that there is a problem and stop telling people of colour what is and isn’t racist, or that racism doesn’t exist in all of our organisations. A non-racist nirvana might exist in a parallel universe where the papers gave Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle the same headlines when they cradled their baby bumps but this isn’t the case in reality.

What we desperately need is racial equity in our newsrooms to avoid the tone-deaf statements when responding to backlash that is created by broadcasters and publishers doing and saying something wrong. We only have to look at the reaction of ITV on the situation to see that work needs to be done in the media to improve diversity and inclusion. These statements smack of limited interest and claiming to know what’s best by media businesses, which is what happens time and time again to people of colour in businesses of all sectors. Complaints about righteous grievances are belittled and not listened to.

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Meghan MarkleKate Middleton
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