Media Diversified founder Samantha Asumadu demonstrates the directory
While the UK has grown ever more diverse in demographic, its media has yet to reach the same level of plurality.
Last month, non-profit organisation Media Diversified launched an Experts Directory to promote a wider range of voices in print, radio, television and online, and yesterday held the public launch party at Northcliffe House, home to the Daily Mail, Independent, Evening Standard and more.
In a keynote speech at the launch party, experienced journalist and television producer Pat Younge implored attendees who might feel like they were "fishing in an ever more stagnant pool of experts and commentators" to play a part in "re-invigorating the media landscape" by using the directory.
Younge said his first job in the industry was as a researcher at London Weekend Television (LWT) where he had been employed to work on a film marking the 10th anniversary of the 1981 Brixton riots as they had "no black people on the team".
Nearly twenty-five years later and "we are still struggling to get black and Asian voices heard", he said, but for some simple reasons.
"You spend your career making contacts, people whose opinions you value and who you can trust to deliver – especially when deadlines are tight or issues are complex.
"You also learn to spot the experts on other outlets and in other papers, especially those who can also deliver what's necessary within these constraints.
"And so, when you are called into action, you go to those that you know, and then to those that you know who know what to do. It's not hard to see how that becomes a self selecting group. Nor is it hard to see how it becomes a self replicating system, unless you intervene.
"This directory is one such intervention. Its goal is to make it easy for you to find and book a broader range of talent."
The directory is intended to provide subscribers with a selection of professionals from ethnic minority backgrounds to give expert opinion in print, television or radio.
"These people are experts in their professional field," said Younge, "so you can use them even in stories which don’t include black and Asian people."
"They are not, repeat not, community leaders speaking on behalf of all black or Asian people," he continued. "No, they are just themselves."
Viewing experts through the directory is free, although paying subscribers will be able to see contact information and previous media appearances.
Pricing is based on the size and needs of each media organisation, and the directory has already been used by the likes of BBC News and Sky News.
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