Saturday, 23 May 2015

Eventually, ‘Diversity’ Will Eat Itself…

Hugh Muir shows us why:
I spent a morning last week interviewing applicants for the Journalism Diversity Fund, an industry-funded initiative that helps those who want to train and enter the profession but can’t afford to. If they can secure a place on a National Council for the Training of Journalists training course, convince of the need for assistance and show how the media might be enhanced in terms of diversity by their enlistment as a practitioner, they can receive financial assistance.
It’s our way of trying to bring new voices and new experiences into British journalism.
Right, right. And..?
I very much commend it. But one thing strikes. Over the years, the calculation of what is needed to achieve a diverse workforce has changed. We need more minority journalists, more women, more journalists with disabilities; to finally tick all of the long-established boxes.
Because it’s all about ticking boxes. That’s all that counts. It’s no longer a case of how good you might be at a job, but whether you fit into a predetermined slot on someone’s diversity board.

But that board is getting larger and larger…
But such is the state of our industry, particularly the London-based national media, that an applicant can very reasonably cite themselves as a bringer of diversity by being a non-graduate or coming from a council estate. Or being someone whose chances are limited by illness in the family, or unemployment, or because they have been working a zero-hours contract.
We lack not just people who fit the diversity critieria of race and sex and gender, but also those whose difference is rooted in circumstance, deprivation and class.
Well, what a dilemma. Here’s a thought, Hugh. Just recruit people. People who are good at what they do.

And stop worrying about quotas, since they’ll eventually be so wide, they’ll encompass everyone anyway…


Flaxen Saxon said...

Indeed. Discrimination, regardless of format, makes me want to reach for my gun. Guess who I'll shoot first.

Twenty Rothmans said...

"It’s our way of trying to bring new voices and new experiences into British journalism."

I cannot wait to open up my Spectator and read the editorial: "Hey niggaz wassup blud?"

The reason I read what I do is because I am not a whining black, I am not 'vulnerable', 'challenged' or 'diverse'. I share nothing with them (apart from a considerable portion of my income). Their experiences are of no interest to me, as I would not expect them to hear my criticism of Lufthansa business class service.

If I wanted to hand over even more of my money to some self-obsessed, paranoiac dimwit to hear about how I'm such a bastard, I'd get married.

MTG said...

When is enough, enough?
I think I know this one, Hugh. Is it when the channel changer offers no prospect of escape from black, unaccomplished presenters?

MTG said...

...and speaking of idiots, shirley the delicious police articles in the Mail did not totally escape you last week, Julia?

Joe Public said...

Presumably that means a healthy, fit, white, male, heterosexual, married Christian candidate is a dead-cert to bring diversity to the profession.

Anonymous said...

Reading the DM, Graun and Telegraph websites, I realise that selection criteria are random as regards grammar, general knowledge and the ability to differentiate homophones on spellchecker.

Anonymous said...


There was a report into diversity in the legal profession, it found that the most under represented group was white working class males. Joe Public has is spot on, how would someone from an ordinary background show up on the diversity calculations?

andy5759 said...

Urban myth time. A deaf mute applied for the job of switchboard operator at the local council. Although shortlisted, did not succeed in getting hired. Applicant took council to industrial tribunal, received thousands in compo because; "the employer did little to remove the telephone element from the job description.". Onwards and downwards, that's the progressive way.

Greencoat said...

Joe Public has nailed it.

JuliaM said...

"Guess who I'll shoot first."

Well, don't make it yourself..!

"Their experiences are of no interest to me, as I would not expect them to hear my criticism of Lufthansa business class service."

They have 'The Voice' or whatever that Brixton based paper is called. Never seen a white person read it. I wonder if their editorial board worries about that?

"Onwards and downwards, that's the progressive way."