The John Schofield Trust welcomes the call to action Professor Olusoga gave at last night’s MacTaggart Lecture.
In it Prof Olusoga touched on many themes and uncomfortable truths which participants on our schemes – young and aspiring journalists – have echoed: of there being a need to focus on retention as well as hiring BAME talent within the media industry, of BAME people’s voices not being listened to, of the mental and emotional toll of being in ‘a minority of one’, of being deemed ‘difficult’.
As Prof Olusoga concurs, ‘these issues affect people from other minority backgrounds and that race, class, gender, sexuality and disability all intersect’. The John Schofield Trust works hard to make newsrooms welcoming to all, and we prioritise supporting young talented people who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. We agree with Prof Olusoga that ‘if true diversity is our aim the mechanism to achieve it is inclusion’. Our activities offer practical solutions to improve inclusion: participants on our first mentoring schemes are now rising into senior management roles within news organisations.
Prof Olusoga gives reason for hope: ‘young people in this country – both black and white – simply do not want to live in a society disfigured by racism and racial inequality’. He concluded his lecture by asking ‘does our industry have the will to genuinely share power with those who have, for so very long, been marginalised and silenced?’ We cannot afford not to. The John Schofield Trust urges the news industry to open its doors to welcome – and nurture – employees from sections of our community which have not historically been represented in newsrooms. Put simply, failure to do so will erode trust in journalism and weaken our democracy.
You can watch Prof Olusoga’s speech here.