Get Your Diversity Here

One of the best online news sources around at the moment is the Media Diversified website (which tweets as @WritersOfColour). The great thing about it is that all of the articles are written by actual people of color, so when it is talking about PoC lives, PoC politics, and what is happening in countries inhabited largely by PoC it tends to be far better informed, and far more accurate, than the pontifications of the white chattering classes who infest British and American newspapers.

You would have thought that if newspapers editors wanted informed comment on something like the Ebola epidemic, or attitudes amongst Muslim girls in the UK, or the controversy over gang rapes in India, that they would go to someone who actually knew what they were talking about. But no, they almost always trot out some well known white columnist who is allowed to pontificate on the issue without any requirement to have knowledge of anything other than their own ill-formed opinion.

However, understanding their own culture, and things that go on in countries to which they have close ties, is not the only area where people of color can add knowledge. They may be doctors, or physicists, or linguists, or psychologists, or literary critics. Sadly the chances of their being called upon to provide expert commentary on such subjects is vanishingly small. The media almost always looks for a white man to be their chosen expert.

According to the latest Creative Skillset 2012 Employment Census, employment in the creative media industries grew by more than 4,000 between 2009 and 2012. However, during this same period the number of BAME people in the industry fell by 2,000.

Not to be deterred, the Media Diversified folks have set up a Directory of Experts where non-white people can register their skills and media organizations can look for a suitable expert. The Directory was officially launched today. I haven’t been able to test it — I’m not eligible to be listed and I can’t afford the fees to access it — but I understand that it has been getting tested by people from major news outlets, and there’s a quote from someone from Sky News in the press release.

“News channels have become increasingly aware of the importance of hearing from a diverse range of contributors. There have been visible improvements in getting more women onto news programmes, but more work needs to be done to cover other types of diversity. Having a directory of experts is a valuable tool in alerting producers to a wider pool of contributors.” — Tami Hoffman, Sky News, Interviews Editor

If any of you folks are in search of expert opinion, you can find out more here.

Now, when are we going to have a directory of expert trans people, eh?