We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

Wanted: a media that truly reflects modern Britain

3 71 0

Danielle Wall may be the managing editor of the Spectator, but she still feels like the odd one out at some corporate events. Not because she is one of the weekly title’s most senior women, but because she left school at 16. “It can make me feel uncomfortable,” she said last week.

Wall’s journalistic flair and fierce work ethic first brought her to the attention of the editor, Fraser Nelson, when she was his PA 10 years ago. Her rise is the inspiration behind an internship programme at the magazine, which is one of the most innovative in journalism.

Three years ago, the Spectator dropped the requirement to include a CV when applying for a paid internship and instead chose from applicants on the basis of editorial aptitude tests. This year, applicants’ names will be removed when the tests are assessed to create the most level playing field possible.

Nelson explains: “Nothing on her CV would hint at her ability. I wondered, ‘How can we get more people like Danielle?’”

Unfortunately Wall’s is a rare good news story in an industry that has become more and more socially exclusive. Journalists from working-class backgrounds without tertiary education are an endangered species. A combination of nepotism and a dearth of well-paid entry level jobs, tied to the near collapse of local journalism, has largely handed the media over to the wealthy, white and well connected. A much-needed push towards greater gender and ethnic diversity has done little to address the dimension of class.

The Social Mobility Commission’s State of the Nation report in 2016 found that just 11% of journalists were from working-class backgrounds. Most senior editors and columnists attended private school in a country where less than 10% of the population do the same. A report by City University found that the British journalism industry is 94% white and 86% university-educated. Not that education is a bad........

© The Guardian