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UK News BBC boss wants show makers to monitor on-screen contributor ethnicity

21:35  22 october  2020
21:35  22 october  2020 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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a man wearing a suit and tie © Provided by Daily Mail

BBC programme-makers have been asked to monitor the ethnicity and disability representation of on-screen contributors.

The gender of people who appear in programmes - such as reporters, commentators, spokespeople, analysts and academics - is already measured by the likes of The One Show, News at Six, BBC Breakfast and Songs Of Praise, as a result of the 50:50 Project.

June Sarpong et al. posing for the camera: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

The project, launched three years ago, aims to have women making half of all contributions to BBC shows.

Director-general Tim Davie now wants to expand the methodology so ethnicity and disability can be monitored - although the move will be voluntary.

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Mr Davie has previously said the BBC must achieve diversity targets for black, Asian and minority ethnic (20%) and disability (12%) representation in the workforce.

'It's absolutely vital the BBC reflects the public it serves,' he said.

Targets will be adjusted for regional and international content according to audience demographics.

The director-general said 18% of all stars earning more than £150,000 are from BAME backgrounds, compared with 12% in 2016/17.

a large building with Broadcasting House in the background: Mr Davie has previously said the BBC must achieve diversity targets for black, Asian and minority ethnic (20%) and disability (12%) representation in the workforce. 'It's absolutely vital the BBC reflects the public it serves,' he said © Provided by Daily Mail Mr Davie has previously said the BBC must achieve diversity targets for black, Asian and minority ethnic (20%) and disability (12%) representation in the workforce. 'It's absolutely vital the BBC reflects the public it serves,' he said

'We made good progress, if you look across the industry we're in a good place, but we've got work to do,' he previously said.

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Earlier this month, the BBC's diversity chief June Sarpong said the corporation has 'serious issues' connecting with working-class audiences.

She said the broadcaster would have a 'more in-tune relationship with more of our audiences' under its new chief.

Mr Davie said that the 50:50 Project 'has had a powerful impact over the last three years'.

'I think it has the potential to achieve even more and to find new voices for our content.'

The new BBC boss also wants other media companies to publish data on female representation.

He said: 'This is not just a challenge for the BBC, but for all media organisations. I'm delighted more organisations are coming on board, as together we can deliver positive change.'

More than 600 BBC teams have been collecting gender data, including Radio 4's The World This Weekend, The Andrew Marr Show, Radio 5 Live Breakfast, coverage of the Glastonbury Festival and the Sports Personality Of The Year programme, as part of the 50:50 Project.

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Mr Davie has previously admitted the lack of diversity in the top 10 list of the highest paid BBC stars means more has to be done.

The top 10 includes Gary Lineker, Zoe Ball, Graham Norton, Steve Wright and Huw Edwards.

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The BBC has failed to connect with white working class audiences and must do more to make them feel represented, according to its head of diversity.

Earlier this month, June Sarpong said her work to reach under-represented groups would extend beyond black and Asian people to include working class communities and their concerns, including immigration.

The presenter made the remarks at a virtual Ofcom summit where she also spoke about being the only black person in the room at BBC conference meetings.

She said: 'Often the BAME audience gets a lot of focus, in that the BBC doesn't represent BAME audiences enough, and we talk about young people.

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'But we know that we've had serious issues in terms of our connection with C2DE [working class] audiences and I think it's about getting the balance.

'As somebody who is an advocate for diversity, I'm always making sure I'm banging the drum for working class audiences because I come from a working class background, my parents were immigrants, we grew up in a white, working class community.

'And I totally understand when it comes to immigration, that is the community that has actually lived it, and often we don't have the sort of nuanced debate around this stuff that we need to.'

Miss Sarpong praised new director-general Tim Davie for speaking out about the need to improve diversity at the BBC .

She said: ‘Our ethos is about being for all of us and that means you have to balance opposing views and groups that perhaps don’t see eye to eye.

‘What Tim is doing is ensuring that we don’t ignore any part of our audience.’

But speaking to Ofcom's Small Screen: Big Debate virtual conference, she said the broadcaster's survival depends on doing more.

'Now the audience themselves are very vocal, and not just of the BBC or of broadcasters but of any institution and company in general,' she said.

'We understand that it's absolutely vital for our success and our survival. It's no longer a nice-to-have, it's a must-have.'

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The diversity tsar also told the conference how she is the only black person in the room at executive meetings.

The BBC executive, who is paid £75,000 a year for her three day a week role, is the only black person on an executive committee of 11 people.

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People from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds accounted for more than 22 per cent of all on-screen TV contributions last year, while representing just 12.8 per cent of the UK population.

But over the past three years, on-screen contributions by South Asian ethnic groups have fallen from 7.1 per cent to 5.6 per cent.

Off-screen, the overall proportion of contributions made by all BAME groups to UK programmes has also increased over the last three years from 9.7 per cent to 12.3 per cent.

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However, this remains slightly below the UK BAME population (12.8 per cent) and well below the BAME population of London (40.2 per cent), where a high proportion of TV programmes are made.

The figures are culled from a deep-dive into BAME data collected by the Creative Diversity Network's diversity monitoring and reporting system, used by all of the UK's main broadcasters.

It is based on 30,000 survey responses from workers in the UK television industry, and comes after demands for TV representation intensified in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.

chart: Off-screen, the overall proportion of contributions made by all BAME groups to UK programmes has also increased over the last three years from 9.7 per cent to 12.3 per cent. However, this remains below the UK BAME population (12.8 per cent) and well below the BAME population of London (40.2 per cent), where a high proportion of TV programmes are made © Provided by Daily Mail Off-screen, the overall proportion of contributions made by all BAME groups to UK programmes has also increased over the last three years from 9.7 per cent to 12.3 per cent. However, this remains below the UK BAME population (12.8 per cent) and well below the BAME population of London (40.2 per cent), where a high proportion of TV programmes are made chart: Off-screen, the overall proportion of contributions made by all BAME groups to UK programmes has also increased over the last three years from 9.7 per cent to 12.3 per cent © Provided by Daily Mail Off-screen, the overall proportion of contributions made by all BAME groups to UK programmes has also increased over the last three years from 9.7 per cent to 12.3 per cent

In its report, the CDN, whose members include BBC, Sky, ITV and Channel 4, said the figures show 'there is still a lack of racial and ethnic diversity in our industry'.

It said that 'inclusion and equality are not yet 'baked' into the industry's ways of working' and 'need to be in order for diversity to flourish'.

According to the CDN's Race and Ethnic Diversity report, people from mixed ethnic groups are most strongly represented in Diamond TV programmes across all genres, making over a third of all BAME contributions both on and off-screen.

Though people who identify with Asian ethnic groups make around 30 per cent of BAME programme contributions, this is comparatively low given that Asian ethnic groups account for more than half of the country's BAME population.

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The report also found there is a lack of ethnic diversity across the majority of senior production roles: BAME contributions account for less than 10 per cent of the contributions made in the role of Production Executive (2.4 per cent), Series Producer (4.4 per cent), Head of Production (8.3 per cent) and Production Manager (9.3 per cent) © Provided by Daily Mail The report also found there is a lack of ethnic diversity across the majority of senior production roles: BAME contributions account for less than 10 per cent of the contributions made in the role of Production Executive (2.4 per cent), Series Producer (4.4 per cent), Head of Production (8.3 per cent) and Production Manager (9.3 per cent)

Off-screen, people who identify with Asian ethnic groups are particularly under-represented across all genres, and those from Black and Other ethnic groups are under-represented across the majority of genres.

On-screen, people who identify as Black and Mixed are comparatively well represented. However, people from Asian groups are under-represented across most genres, with the exception of Children's and Drama programmes.

The report found that people from BAME groups are making fewer contributions in a senior production role across most genres.

Overall, people who identify with Black and Mixed ethnic groups are less well represented in senior production roles compared to their representation in other roles, particularly junior and entry level roles.

Although people who identify as South Asian are under-represented off-screen, they are more likely to be contributing in a senior role (4.3 per cent of senior role contributions, and 2.2 per cent of non-senior contributions).

The report also found there is a lack of ethnic diversity across the majority of senior production roles: BAME contributions account for less than 10 per cent of the contributions made in the role of Production Executive (2.4 per cent), Series Producer (4.4 per cent), Head of Production (8.3 per cent) and Production Manager (9.3 per cent).

The exception is Commissioning, where some progress appears to have been made with regards to ethnic diversity: 16.5 per cent of Commissioning Editor contributions were made by someone who identified with a BAME group.

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