BBC to slash Oxbridge hires in diversity shakeup – ‘I lit a fire on this’ | UK | News (Reports)

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BBC director-general Tim Davie said the corporation cannot “just take people from a certain academic track”. He said the restructuring is key to ensuring “different types of people and different voices” represent the corporation.

Mr Davie presented the idea to other broadcasting chiefs during Ofcom’s Small Screen: Big Debate conference.

He said: “It can’t be that we just take people from a certain academic track.

“I get a sense in our research that there are certain people who don’t connect with us. ‘Is the BBC for me?’

“That’s about being out of London, it’s about programming choices, who speaks for us, who we put up in the newsroom.

“All those things need modernising to represent what is a more diverse Britain.”

Mr Davie added: “I’m talking about how secure you feel in your life, how comfortable you feel in your community, all of that.

“I have lit a fire on this. We won’t recruit in the same way.

“And we need to look more broadly across the UK so that everyone says, ‘The BBC is for me,’ and, ‘My views are represented.’”

Alex Mahon, chief executive of Channel 4, defended the broadcaster after it was branded the “poshest” broadcasted in a 2018 survey.

During Tuesday’s conference, she said: “The only sectors more posh than broadcasting and media are law and medicine, and those are sectors where you effectively have to have enough money to decide to study for seven years when you’re about 14.

“That has come about because of the long history of broadcasting and what an attractive job it is.

“If you’re not a white male of a certain class in the broadcasting industry, you generally don’t feel you can be your authentic self, and the gap between who are and who you have to be at work is so big you give up.”

Dame Carolyn McCall, chief executive of ITV, said the diversity barriers within broadcasting companies were “not gender any more” but ethnic diversity and disability.

She said: “The real issue is black leadership at senior levels.

“When we talk about Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic, it is not homogeneous.

“Asian colleagues do very well in many media organisation, including ITV.

“‘Minority ethnic’ is a catch-all phrase that’s really quite unhelpful.”

June Sarpong, the BBC’s director of creative diversity, admitted that the BBC had “serious issues in terms of our connection” with white, working class viewers.

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