Newsrooms should be representative of the society they serve, says ITV Director of News and Current Affairs

Posted 8 August 2019

Speaking at our recent Breaking into News competition final, ITV's Director of News and Current Affairs, Michael Jermey explained why diversity, both on and off camera, is so important in broadcast journalism. The extract below is drawn from his remarks.

“The first time I discovered there was such a thing as news was when I was five years old. Neil Armstrong had just landed on the moon. The feeling of excitement was inescapable. It was a big news day, a day which you remember for years to come.

Not only can news be exciting, it also matters. It is essential in a democracy that good journalism holds power to account. As a journalist, you are given both the privilege as well as the responsibility to tell stories that allow people to make informed judgements about how they want their country run.”

If journalism matters in a democracy, it also matters that a career in journalism is open to everyone.

A noble cause

“I would encourage any young person who wants to work in broadcast journalism to pursue their dream. It’s something that if done well, if done responsibly, if done with a social conscience and a belief that truth and facts matter, you can make a career in something which really adds value to our society.

If journalism matters in a democracy, it also matters that a career in journalism is open to everyone, no matter their background. Newsrooms should be representative of the society they serve.”

The Breaking into News programme

“We as an organisation at ITV News, want to have a workforce that is truly diverse, in every sense of that word. Over the past decade, we have worked hard to make ourselves more inclusive. One key element of this has been a fantastic eight-year partnership with Media Trust on Breaking into News. The programme encourages new voices, which perhaps aren’t always found in UK news rooms, to take their first steps into broadcast journalism.

I’ve been looking back at where our Breaking into News finalists over the past couple of years have ended up after taking part. Fourteen out of 20 are now in newsrooms, some at ITV, some elsewhere, or in journalism training. I think that’s a fantastic testament to the programme.”

Recruiting from a wide pool of diverse talent strengthens any news organisation.

“One of the main reasons it has been so successful is due to the mentoring finalists receive as part of the programme. I couldn’t be more grateful to the ITV News mentors, past and present who have worked with each finalist to help them to develop an initial idea into a fully-fledged broadcast news story, many of which have been aired on ITV regional news. The fact that our staff come back again and again to mentor suggests that it’s not just the finalists who get something truly valuable from the programme.

I would encourage all news organisations to consider what they can do to encourage aspiring journalists from all backgrounds. Recruiting from a wide pool of diverse talent strengthens any news organisation and helps it find a wider range of important stories to tell.”

About Breaking into News: Media Trust’s annual Breaking into News competition and mentoring programme, run in partnership with ITV News, gives ten aspiring journalists from across the UK the chance to create their own news report with the support of their very own ITV regional news team. The 2019 final took place at ITV Studios on 24 July 2019. You can read the highlights here.



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