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Why is there not more diversity in the people making programmes?
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Why is there not more diversity in the people
making programmes?
If I go to any development meeting, any brainstorming session in
the BBC and look around, there’s a good chance I will be the only
Black person in the room. You go to any editorial board meetings
and it’s the same. - Head of BBC Diversity
It is estimated that over two thirds of original television and network radio output
is made in London, one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world where
38% of the general workforce is from an ethnic minority,
39
yet the people who
make programmes still don’t reflect that reality at all. Outside of London the
diversity of the broadcasting workforce is even poorer. I asked my interviewees
why it has been such a struggle to get a more diverse mix of people into
programme-making, particularly into senior creative and editorial roles.
Getting In
? Need to be au fait with British culture
To take part in the National Conversation through broadcasting you need to
understand its prevailing cultural references in order to be allowed to participate
at all. 
Television is probably one of the most culturally determined
institutions to work in. You really do have to understand the culture
of the nation, you can’t be a foreigner and work in television, you
need to know the British people. If you have just come off a boat
from Algeria you are not going to really know that are you? -
Independent producer
It’s not just foreigners; it’s also difficult for people from different class and
cultural backgrounds who may have different knowledge and social values:
I was made to feel really stupid for not knowing who Elgar was…. I
could have told them the name of every single Top Ten band since
1970 but I didn’t know the classical stuff, what the director wanted
for his film. - Researcher
I think anyone from an orthodox religious background would feel
very out of place. I know I’ve always felt a bit buttoned up: the way
people swear and talk about sex and whatnot, it makes me feel quite
uncomfortable. That’s why I think I ended up doing children’s
programmes. - Assistant producer
There was a strong smoking and drinking culture which was not
what I’m used to. You were also expected to be loud and extrovert
and confident with selling ideas which I didn’t feel I could be. The
culture of the place was extrovert, loud; I guess people can argue
that’s the way media is – you needed a certain degree of arrogance
to get on. Just wasn’t me. - Former researcher
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