Why is working class representation in news so bad?

Around 80 per cent of journalists come from professional or upper-class backgrounds, according to the most recent diversity report by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ, 2022).

Compare this to 42 per cent of the general workforce who come from higher class backgrounds in the UK, and that statistic becomes even more shocking.

This means that people from advantaged backgrounds are twice as likely to become a journalist. 

It’s not new that working-class people are heavily unrepresented in the news and media industry, but the class gap worsens each year. 

By the age of 7, children have already made decisions on what they can and cannot do as careers, based on the role models they have met. If children are not introduced to a variety of careers and the people that work within them, they are less likely to believe they can pursue them.

Our Media Cubs project was set up to challenge just this, giving children the confidence to try something new and introduce them to creative jobs and interests. 

And to improve who has a say in the media, we run the UK’s first newsroom for and by older people, Talking About My Generation, which puts the power of the press into older people’s hands so they can have a proper say on the news and views that matter to them whilst challenging ageing stereotypes.

Typical stock photos of wrinkly hands out, opinions and valuable perspectives in. 

The report’s author, NCTJ research consultant Mark Spilsbury, suggested that the primary reason behind the industry’s failure to recruit working-class people was a tendency to hire university graduates – who are usually from wealthier backgrounds.

The industry needs a huge shakeup – a variety of different routes in, meaningful connections with communities and schools, an emphasis on paid (NOT unpaid) internships and experiences. 

It shouldn’t feel or be elusive. The media should be representative of the communities that it should be serving – and the most effective way of doing that is to employ more people who live in those communities from diverse backgrounds that have a better grasp on reality to pave the way for future generations of cub reporters. 

Learn more about how we empower people to broadcast their news and stories: https://www.yellowjigsaw.co.uk/


Learn more about Media Cubs partnership work here or contact us at team@mediacubs.co.uk