Diversity for an engaged audience and successful business - Reuters News Agency

Diversity for an engaged audience and successful business

Diversity in the newsroom is still a challenge in 2019. Embracing it can support and engage audiences with successful business outcomes.

By Sahar Amer | Apr 16, 2019

With times increasingly tough, publishers can’t afford to alienate any audience. In 2019 expect more awareness of the link between diversity and business success.

Trends and Predictions 2019, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism.

A finding from the Journalism, Media and Technology Trends and Predictions Report 2019 saw that 56% of the 200 editors, CEOs and digital leaders were concerned about the level of diversity in the newsroom. In 2018, for the first time, companies were made to reveal their gender pay gap which showed that 9 in 10 paid men more than women – of UK-based media companies, 91% fell into that category with men occupying the majority of senior roles.

The Global Media Monitoring Project discovered that only 24% of news subjects are female, leaving them massively underrepresented in the news agenda which means their voices are not being heard on topics that are about – or related to – women. This can also be said for the way that people of color and various religious groups are represented in news, which reflecting a broader lack of diversity in the newsroom, only 0.4% of British journalists were Muslim, and just 0.2% were black in 2015.

It is important for newsrooms to authentically reflect the make up of their audiences – and in positive ways. Many new publishers are starting to use tools like Prognosis which help track gender and ethnic diversity of content by monitoring the names and pronouns in US news media.

The Financial Times dug deep into gender issues which led to new products such as the Long Story Short newsletter – the biggest and best stories curated by a female FT journalist. It is also important to consider how internships and workshops aimed at taking on and training groups that have less structural advantage will help generate more diverse talent. The BBC, ITN, The Telegraph and more have worked with Creative Access, an organization dedicated to recruiting BAME talent, to increase diversity in their newsrooms.

Another example is HuffPost, who adopted a Communities approach, covering subcategories such as, Queer Voices, Latino Voices, Black Voices, Asian Voices and Women. These all speak to members of different communities and result in wider audience reach (HuffPost Black Voices 414K followers on Twitter alone). Creating content that is by and for different audiences can help maintain engaged and loyal users which could drive subscription and membership revenue. Keeping up with those you’re representing can lead to stronger journalism and a sustainable business.

Learn more in Reuters Institute’s Journalism, Media and Technology Trends and Predictions Report 2019