As part of an ongoing project to establish the main barriers to inclusivity and representation in UK newsrooms, the Ethical Journalism Network will be hosting the second in a series of panels on the subject. The panel will explore the question “How has journalism responded to structural racism in UK newsrooms through its coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic?”
The panel will discuss how coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK news reflects some of society’s key challenges in addressing racial inequality and cultural essentialism. It will also consider the roles and responsibilities journalists have in challenging stereotypes, using appropriate language, as well as giving context and resources that help diverse audiences understand the issue.
The event will be moderated by award-winning TV Presenter and journalist and EJN Trustee, Ayshah Tull. Our panellists are the BBCs Sima Kotecha; CEO and Founder of Black Ballad, Tobi Oredein; and Rizwana Hamid from the Centre for Media Monitoring.
Sima Kotecha is a highly regarded correspondent who has covered a plethora of stories during her 17 yr career at the BBC. From covering the war on multiple occasions in Afghanistan, to interviewing the likes of Barak Obama and Rishi Sunak, her journalism is well regarded by those in the business and among those watching and listening at home. Her journalism has led to legislative change as well. Her reports on the detrimental effects of the anti-malarial drug Lariam given to service personnel resulted in it becoming the drug of last resort. She’s made Panorama films and currently works on Newsnight where she recently broke the story about Afghan civilians being instructed to go to Kabul airport even though officials knew there was the threat of an attack. She also presents on the BBC Breakfast sofa and is sometimes heard presenting news programmes on radio 4.
Tobi Oredein started her career as a journalist in women’s lifestyle media and entertainment but is now a fully-fledged media entrepreneur after founding Black Ballad in 2014 – the leading media and data company for Black women in Britain and beyond. Black Ballad has 1000s of paying members, and a wider community of over 70,000 Black women who consume the content, attend events and engage with brands the company partners with. Tobi has secured spots on many prominent lists including Forbes 30 under 30 for media and marketing.
Rizwana (aka Rizu) Hamid is the director of the Centre for Media Monitoring which monitors the British media on how it reports on Muslims & Islam. Rizwana oversees the whole project and engages with key stakeholders including editors, journalists, regulators and politicians to ensure fair, accurate and responsible journalism. She also has over 30-years of experience working as a television producer/director for the BBC, C4, and other international broadcasters in News, Current Affairs, Religious, Documentary, World Service & Multicultural Programming. Her films have won awards, been presented as evidence in inquiries, and led to changes in policy.
This panel is being produced as part of an Ethical Journalism Network project funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation which addresses the issue of structural racism in UK newsrooms and aims to support journalists and organisations who are seeking to improve and advance their roles in dealing with endemic issues of racism in the media industry. Main photo by Maria Oswalt on Unsplash.