Undiverse media could face quotas warns ex-Sky newscaster

With just a few days to go until the Alternative Perspective conference on 26 June at the Bernie Grant Centre, Eva Nyandoro from V4CE caught up with Juliette Foster a morning anchor on the new Africa centred TV channel Arise News.
Juliette was asked if there any particular factors in the media that make it more likely to be unrepresentative compared to other sectors, and what action can be taken to deal with this?
“This is a difficult question to answer but at the heart of the problem is a lack of representation at senior management level”, she said. “The talent to fill the key roles is out there but it’s struggling to get a look in. Managers often explain away the discrepancy by claiming there are no suitable ethnic minority candidates with the skills to handle the big jobs. Maybe they haven’t been looking in the right places or perhaps they find it easier to play it safe and promote people internally."
“Either which way that can’t be right. It’s time for media organisations to take the issue of representation seriously. Intransigence deters talent whilst opening the door to possible state intervention and the imposition of quotas.”
Juliette is a broadcast journalist with nearly thirty years experience in the media. She has worked for some of the world's leading news organisations including BBC Radio, BBC World Service Television, Channel 4 Television, Bloomberg Television and Sky News.
“The current level of BME representation in the media is weak. If the situation isn’t addressed those with ability will either keep away from the industry altogether or simply go abroad. That would be a great pity and a dreadful loss to the industry.”
Juliette was also asked does BME representation matter, in front of and behind the camera / microphone. And does it matter less than it used to?
“The BME community is a media consumer. Like everyone else we listen to the radio or watch TV and the latest movies via our PCs/tablets/mobiles. We’ve embraced new technology and the many possibilities it has to offer. Since we already make up a sizeable chunk of the British population it stands to reason that the media should reflect that reality, both in front of and behind the cameras.”
“What would happen to the BBC if the BME community refused to pay the licence fee? Whilst the corporation wouldn’t slide into automatic financial ruin, it would certainly feel the pain from those missing bucks! The media needs to recognise that the world is changing and that BME communities are no longer prepared to sit back in silence. By all means take our money but remember – traffic runs two ways. Give us some bang for our bucks by genuinely including us in a system we co-finance!”
Juliette will be a guest speaker at the Media seminar at the Alternative Perspectives on Thursday at the Bernie Grant Centre. The seminar will be starting at 10.30 to 11.30am and being repeated at 2.00 3.00pm and will be an opportunity to explore Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) representation in the media.