reporting on race

Journalism bodies have all expressed grave concerns at the lack of diversity in today’s newsrooms. A recent survey by the National Council for Training of Journalists revealed that more than 90% of journalists in the UK are white while BAME communities represent 40% of the population in the UK’s largest cities. 

Meanwhile, in the last ten years alone the ethnic population of the UK has more than doubled. Britain is now home to hundreds of different communities all calling the country their home and so indelibly shaping the country’s future.

That’s why representations of ethnicity, race and religion are more significant than ever in the media because language, emphasis and a lack of context can fuel nationalism and spread fear and tensions.

There are social and legal responsibilities for journalists to effectively cover stories affecting all our diverse communities. But reporting on them shouldn’t just be seen as a box to be ticked. 

This unique one-day workshop is a practical guide for journalists and journalism students on how to best and properly report on issues of race and ethnicity and how to avoid the perils and pitfalls of reporting on BAME communities.

It offers a hands-on approach to demystifying the complex and fast-changing dynamics of BAME communities in the UK and presents practical steps to help reporters “get an in” and then maintain good contacts with so-called “hard to engage” communities that often feel underserved and misunderstood by traditional media outlets.

The course is designed and created by award-winning investigative journalist Amardeep Bassey and draws from real-life journalistic scenarios he’s encountered as a reporter working out of Birmingham and the West Midlands, one of Europe’s most cosmopolitan and multicultural regions.

Course description

This course will equip you with a broad understanding of Britain’s five largest distinct minority communities, their demographics and often complex societal structures, which will form a solid foundation to help you think creatively about generating engaging content.

You will learn how and where to find stories and contacts within these diverse communities. The course will offer practical advice on how and where to go to make and then cultivate valuable and relevant contacts. Why the so-called called “community leader” model of reporting is outdated and misleading.

The training will focus on providing you with the tools and techniques that will help get you that “in” with diverse and at times seemingly “alien” communities that make up the fabric of British society today.

What will the course cover?

  • An overview of Britain’s BAME communities, their structures, values and behaviour.
  • What is race and ethnicity? Discussion of issues surrounding identity. How do people identify themselves and why? Most British Asians are born and brought up in this country yet BAME sports figures like Moeen Ali have spoken about the flak they receive from some sections of their own community who label them “traitors.”
  • Unconscious bias - Prominent public figures have courted controversy by admitting they may be influenced by racist biases they did not recognise while professional sport icons like Man City star Raheem Sterling have publicly spoken about racist portrayals in the media. Do we all hold some degree of racial bias and where does it come from? How can it be combated?
  • Legal requirements and definitions of race and ethnicity - what the law says about inciting racial hatred and hate speech and a journalist's responsibility not to act as a voice piece for extremists on all sides. 
  • Myth-busting - challenging common misconceptions and stereotypes and understanding where they come from and how to avoid them.
  • Practical tips on engaging with BAME communities including some simple dos and don’ts and social etiquettes.

The course will encourage interaction and discussion on these often sensitive issues using relevant real life-scenarios encountered by Amardeep while reporting on Britain’s BAME communities.

Ultimately the course is geared towards making you a better journalist and equipping you with the knowledge and confidence to go out into diverse communities without fear or favour enabling you to tap into a whole new world of fascinating untold stories while engaging with new people, new ideas and new cultures that all together make up modern-day Britain.

Getting there

This course will be held at The Bridge, 73-81 Southwark Bridge Road, London, SE1 0NQ.

About Amardeep Bassey

Amardeep Bassey is an award-winning investigative journalist who was previously the Birmingham correspondent for Huffpost UK. He now trains journalists on how to report on race and BAME communities.