Friday 4 December 2020

Friday chat

Here's a discussion of the kind I've not had at work today, but it's interesting for featuring Prof Matthew Goodwin and The Economist editor/BBC presenter Anne McElvoy talking about Tim Davie's 'very BBC'-sounding diversity plans and how they start to fall short of what's really needed (as does this conversation):

Press Gazette: BBC director-general Tim Davie says boosting workforce diversity is "mission critical" and that there will be a "rewiring of the core" at the BBC. "Bold" targets are 50/50 gender split, 20% BAME and 12% disabled representation. 

Professor Matthew Goodwin: No mention of education or class? 34% of BBC leaders who shape coverage of news & current affairs were privately educated, 60% have parents with degrees & 69% have parents who belonged to the higher managerial & professional elite.

Anne McElvoy: The education point is a bit harder as it needs highly qualified journalists. But amazed by the complacency about a huge skew towards privately educated in news-current affairs. Think I’m right in saying BBC Radio 4's Today for one doesn’t have a single presenter who wasn’t!

Professor Matthew Goodwin: Dear me that needs to change! And on education sure but could draw from much wider pool i.e. not Oxbridge. Might be a decent reply to the Brexit moment. 
Anne McElvoyYes up to a point but I think there’s also a double standard in which we want to encourage a high level of aspiration from state schools – and then start complaining about too much Oxbridge/Russell Group. Course I am biased on this being state school and the dreaded Oxbridge. 

Saturday update: The conversation flows on:

Professor Matthew Goodwin: I thought it was a joke but having just done the research for my book it turns out it's true. Every single presenter on Radio 4 Today is privately-educated and Oxbridge/LSE. Only the announcer, Zeb Soanes, is not.  
Anne McElvoy: No I wasn’t joking.  
Professor Matthew Goodwin: I'm quite staggered, actually. I mean I thought post-Brexit and 2010s there might have been more reflection about the need to shake-up the conversation.

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