To coincide with a special report on race in the British media the New Statesman magazine compiled (sadly, not so) shocking statistics which showed ethnic minorities are still largely absent from opinion pages, senior executive roles and staff jobs in the media.
For context: figures published by the Office of National Statistics for 2009 showed the non-white population of England and Wales stood at 16.7 per cent – or one in six people.
In numbers: Race in the media
2 of the 99 named witnesses at the Leveson inquiry into the press are from ethnic minorities
1 of the Guardian‘s 2011 guide to the 100 most important people in the media was not white
0 national newspaper editors are not white
0 national newspaper political editors are not white
In numbers: The Commentariat
We surveyed the main comment pages of selected newspapers in the week between Monday 5 December and Sunday 11 December to count the number of non-white writers who appeared.
3 newspapers did not have a single non-white writer on the comment pages
5 non-white writers have a regular weekly fixed column in the British broadsheet press
*Numbers include Sunday sister publications
[An important point on methodology: the numbers above refer to those columnists who occupy, specifically, the prime real estate that is a newspaper’s “comment and opinion” pages. They do not count the non-white writers who write columns in other sections of a newspaper. For example, Baz Bamigboye, the Daily Mail‘s black showbiz columnist, is not included in the statistics. Nor is the Guardian G2’s Aditya Chakrabortty, who writes on ideas and economics.]
What have the following five individuals got in common: Gary Younge, Hugh Muir, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Amol Rajan and India Knight? They are part of a small group of non-white newspaper columnists who appear regularly on the comment pages of our national newspapers. Well, OK, not quite. They are the small group of non-white newspaper columnists who appear on those comment pages. That’s it. There’s just five of them – the Guardian‘s Younge and Muir (both black), the Independent/i‘s Alibhai-Brown and Rajan (both Asian) and the Sunday Times‘s Knight (mixed race).
It is a deeply depressing state of affairs.
BY ALICE GRIBBIN PUBLISHED 11 JANUARY 2012
Thanks to deputy editor of the New Statesman Helen Lewis for allowing us to reproduce parts of their report here.