Are journalism awards diverse enough?

are journalism awards diverse enough?

In honour of the National Diversity Awards nominations being announced, our blog editor, Amber Sunner, is asking herself: are journalism awards diverse enough?

Diversity in journalism awards had been a hotly contested issue. Just this year the Society of Editors postponed their National and Regional Press Awards, after several people pulled out of the evening in protest of a statement they published on Prince Harry’s claim that the UK press is bigoted.

The conversation regarding diversity in creative award seasons has made headlines. Nominations for the Oscars, Baftas and Brits have all been criticised for their lack of diversity. While Bafta awarded Chloe Zhao the Best Director award this year. She is the first woman of colour to win this prestigious award. The organisation has been criticised for a lack of representation after no non-white actors were nominated and no women nominated in the best director category for the seventh year in a row in 2020.

In journalism, change is not happening much faster. 

This confirms that “pale, male and stale” is still rife in our industry. 

Yet, awards have been a real support for journalists from underrepresented backgrounds. The National Diversity Awards which are associated with ITV news is celebrating journalists in their line-ups for their contributions to journalism such as Tahmina Begum, Hannah Van De Peer and myself (you can vote for me here)! Alongside these awards, the British Journalism Awards decided to waive fees for BAME, female and disabled journalists in 2020. It has resulted in a boost in applications. 

As someone who identifies in all three of these categories, I was so pleased to see how the barriers to these awards were taken down.

The conversation regarding diversity in creative award seasons has made headlines. Nominations for the Oscars, Baftas and Brits have all been criticised for their lack of diversity. The Bafta awards were criticised for a lack of representation after no non-white actors were nominated and no women nominated in the best director category for the seventh year in a row in 2020.

This confirms that “pale, male and stale” is still rife in creative industries. The Bafta awards awarded Chloe Zhao, the Best Director award this year. She is the first woman of colour to win this prestigious award. This signals change is coming – but whether it sticks is another question. 

More still needs to be done. Journalists shouldn’t be solely rewarded for writing about what makes them diverse. 

In order to create a more diverse industry, awards seasons also need to recognise the work of journalists from minority backgrounds for their contribution as a whole. Not just as diversity champions. Diversity quotas and hires are not enough – now real recognition is requisite.