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Does it make any difference who makes programmes?
56
Does it make any difference who makes the
programmes?
Is the ambition to achieve a diverse workforce driven simply by the need to meet
equal opportunities obligations or by the belief that it will enrich the output,
bringing different perspectives, different agendas, and different voices into the
National Conversation?  Does it really matter who makes programmes?
Value judgements are implicit
There was a consensus amongst my interviewees that personal experience and
knowledge play a big part in how we make programmes but that our value
judgements are rarely made explicit.
It’s the way you put stories together, it is the tone, and you betray
yourself in the way you tell stories. Even news in not an objective
thing, it’s a subjective thing. It’s all subjective. What goes in on any
given day, how the story is treated, and the context that’s given to a
story. My big bugbear is the way Africa is treated: I think just in the
terms of journalism, it’s treated unprofessionally. They ignore
stories. The whole picture of Africa and the way Africa is developing
is being missed. They use different criteria: showing pictures of
naked children and mothers suckling their children – they would
never show European women in Kosovo, never show that. We don’t
question what we see and they don’t question what they show. -
News producer
Does it take one to know one? 
Should only Asian producers make programmes about Asians, or disabled
producers programmes about disabled people? This is a prickly topic. There is a
natural resistance to the very idea that we could draw boundaries around our
imaginations and abilities to understand something unfamiliar to us. Programme-
makers pride themselves on being able to parachute into a strange situation and
construct their programme within a limited time frame, gathering the necessary
expertise as they go. To suggest that they couldn’t do so because a programme
is about Black people or disabled people, is anathema to many. 
My view is that it should be about how good you are and I don’t
really think that the ethnicity of the individual necessarily
determines the quality of the programme you make…If you know
about the subject or you get to know about the subject or you have
a brain that is curious, and curiosity seems to be the most important
quality that you need in this game. None of those things are to do
with your ethnicity, so I am really quite nervous about that. -
Producer
? Can anyone create authentic characters of a culture different from their
own?
It is generally agreed that there are not enough writers from minorities involved
in comedy and drama, but is research and imagination enough to give any writer
the possibility of creating authentic characters that are culturally different from
themselves?
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