Podcasts

PressPad founder Olivia Crellin on the need for diversity in journalism

In this week’s episode of Media Voices, PressPad founder and BBC journalist Olivia Crellin explains how PressPad aims to diversify the media by removing one of the main financial obstacles to those trying to enter the profession.

In the news round-up, the team discuss a week of huge news around paywalls, the success of The New York Times’ subscription efforts, and why Snapchat has stopped paying licensing fees.

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In our own words: Chris Sutcliffe

While there are many existential threats to journalism in the UK – Section 40, evaporating advertising money and Facebook to name a few – one of the most fundamental is the falling level of trust the public has in the media.

There are any number of reasons for the decrease in trust, but undoubtedly a lack of representation of working class journalists, or journalists from outside the M25, is one of them. How can the public be expected to trust journalists with whom they have nothing in common? And undoubtedly journalism in the UK is still a rarefied position, with disproportionate amounts of the most prominent journalists having graduated from Oxbridge, and an unfair percentage of top jobs are filled by straight white men.

At the same time, I feel like there is a general unwillingness among British journalists to recognise the privilege that allowed them access to the industry. There is often a Four Yorkshiremen mentality when journalists meet, with each member of the group competing to have had the hardest journey into their present position, without mentioning that they had the financial safety net to have completed an unpaid internship or apprenticeship scheme.

So it’s a real pleasure to have interviewed the BBC’s Olivia Crellin about her project PressPad, which aims to connect aspiring journalists from outside the capital with mentor-hosts who can put them up while they find their feet in the industry. Crellin is frank about her own advantages, and it was heartening to hear her take on why the hosts in the pilot scheme have chosen to take part.

Journalism is facing down many existential threats, and UK journalists’ ability to hold power into account is not what it once was. But by making the industry more inclusive and representative of the public through schemes like PressPad, it might be that UK newspapers rediscover their old vigour, regain the trust of the public and even discover new audiences along the way.

 

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