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Progress being made in diversity of journalists, reveals new NCTJ report

Diversity in journalism has come under scrutiny in a new report published by the NCTJ, examining the characteristics of UK journalists.

Progress being made in diversity of journalists, reveals new NCTJ report

The report, authored by research consultant Mark Spilsbury, was presented at an industry event last week at the Financial Times.

The research, based on 2021 Labour Force Survey (LFS) data, suggests that progress is being made in some areas.

Amongst the findings are:

  • There is good gender balance in journalism, including in senior roles, with the proportion of women in senior journalism roles at 49 per cent.
  • There has been an increase in the number of journalists who report having a work-limiting health problem or disability at 19 per cent, up from 16 per cent in 2020 and higher than the level for all UK workers (17 per cent).
  • There has also been a decrease in the proportion of journalists from white ethnic groups (87 per cent, down from 92 per cent in 2020). This is now on par with ethnicity levels of all UK workers.

However, the proportion of editors from non-white ethnic backgrounds is only 10 per cent compared to 14 per cent in junior roles, suggesting that more needs to be done to promote journalists from other ethnicities into senior roles.

There are also ongoing issues with social class which the report suggests needs to be addressed as a priority.

The research found that journalists are highly qualified, with 89 per cent having a degree-level or higher-level qualification, which is not reflective of the UK population as a whole.

Joanne Butcher, NCTJ chief executive, said: “Our research programme, including reports like this, is vital to present the facts, highlight the real issues and measure progress. It is also important that we take action.

“We know we need to do more and that is what we are currently debating at the NCTJ and with our partners. Expect to see greater investment and the introduction of more interventions designed to make a difference.”

The report updates the NCTJ’s 2021 research, and will be updated annually.

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