The Work Of Shaun Jacques

Underrepresented groups in the media

We live in a different age apparently.

but do we live in an age where anybody could go for a job in the media and they won’t get voted down for their gender, nationality, race, age or disability? I believe not and I shall now look further into why I believe this.

  • 20% of British people have some form of disability, however the following percentages indicate how much of the big 4 tv stations workforce have a disability:
    • 4.4% BBC
    • 2%  ITV
    • 1.8% SKY
    • 1% Channel 4

What this shows is that TV studios are seemingly afraid of hiring disabled staff members and are certainly scared of having them in on screen roles. Not mentioned in the statistics are Five who allowed ‘changing faces’ chief executive James Partridge to read the lunchtime bulletin for a week in November 2009, this was particularly newsworthy as James has severe burns on his face due to a car accident when he was 18. Is this a step in the right direction? Yes, however I am dissapointed that this was only for one week and would be interested in whether Five would hire a disfigured presenter on a full-time basis.

James Partridge

Women in the media is an interesting subject as well in the media, often seen as ‘just a pretty face’ many female presenters appear to be sacked once their ‘physical peak’ is past them, critics evidence the ‘Arelene Phillips’ sacking from the strictly come dancing judging panel as a sign of this, as well as the sacking and ‘resignations’ of several older female newsreaders and Countryfile presenter Miriam O’Reilly. SkillSet also shows that 5,000 women have left the media in the last two years, compared to 750 men. It also revealed that women would earn £6,000 less on average for doing the same job as a man in the media. Add to this women’s portrayal in the media typically as weak/needing a man to help, which would deserve several blog posts on it’s own merit and it’s understandable to see why women could be seen as underrepresented in the media.

First search on google when typing in 'women TV' Positive role model or another example of a women getting a role for being young and beautiful at the time?

The 2011 census is expected to show that 13-15% of the U.K will be defined as black or ethnic yet the percentage of prime time BBC presenters that are black is less than 1% also ‘black’ people are prominantly featured as the ‘bad guy’ in soaps or dramas, quite often their character is involved in gang culture and/or drugs (an example on TV is Eastenders’ ‘Billie Jackson’ ) There are numerous debates about a lack of positive black role models on television, but are TV corporations willing to cast many of them? Is the ‘gang culutre’ stereotype just to much of a stereotype to dissapear overnight? unfortunately I’m certain that nothing will change soon.

Eastenders Character 'Billie Jackson'

In conclusion I believe that many groups are underrepresented in the media and it is prominently dominated by the white male at least as f ar as on screen roles go. There are many organizations looking to change this in the future, but i believe it is obvious that this is not an issue that is behind the media as previously assumed


Coventry Conversation with Dhrien Katwa


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