Where are all the black faces?

A new magazine has been launched to challenge the lack of black journalists in the media. By Naomi Marks

THE PHRASE "institutional racism" has been widespread in the media in 1999. As the police, fire service, civil service and other areas of public life have been forced to take a long, hard look at themselves, TV, radio and newspapers have reported it all. But, according to those behind a new magazine launch next week, it is time the media turned their gaze inwards and posed themselves the questions they have been asking of others.

THE PHRASE "institutional racism" has been widespread in the media in 1999. As the police, fire service, civil service and other areas of public life have been forced to take a long, hard look at themselves, TV, radio and newspapers have reported it all. But, according to those behind a new magazine launch next week, it is time the media turned their gaze inwards and posed themselves the questions they have been asking of others.

In the absence, they believe, of the mainstream media doing so, they are asking the questions themselves. The Black Media Journal is being launched to solve what has been described as an "amnesia" affecting Britain's media industry; a disregard of the cultural diversity of the UK that has resulted in an imbalance in ethnic minority representation in all areas of the media.

The Black Media Journal is an attempt to throw light on the imbalance and challenge it. According to the writer and broadcaster Marc Wadsworth, managing editor of the Journal : "The old battles haven't been won. The media have prettied up the shop window. There are more black faces on TV and one or two black journalists on Fleet Street but the shop floor hasn't changed much." Hence the need, he says, for a title that tackles the issues in a readily accessible way.

The Black Media Journal , he explains, will fall somewhere between the black glossy Pride , and the more academic Race and Class . It will start out as a quarterly but there are plans to turn it monthly. And it has the support of some big names in the industry. The first edition, price £3.50, will feature a piece by the broadcaster and would-be mayor of London Trevor Phillips on the struggles facing black independent programme makers, and there is an interview with the scriptwriter, author and actress Meera Syal, whose Goodness Gracious Me! series has been one of the recent hits of BBC comedy. Aiming to be an inclusive forum, it has white writers, too. The BBC2 controller Jane Root has contributed an article on the channel's commitment to diverse and minority programming, while Brian Cathcart, a former deputy editor of the Independent on Sunday , has written on the iconography surrounding the Stephen Lawrence case. In it he questions whether the murdered teenager would still have been a cause célÿbre , albeit belatedly, for a paper such as the Daily Mail , if he had been a Rastafarian.

The motivating force behind the Black Media Journal is Claudine Boothe, a broadcaster and academic whose idea to create a campaigning, research and training institute that would tackle the issues of black under-representation in the media, and combine it with a journal looking at the same issues, was first conceived in 1993. It took several years of battling to find the finances to make the idea come to fruition but, thanks to funding from the European Social Fund, the Arts Council and the Single Regeneration Board, the doors to the Black Media Institute opened in Hackney, East London, in October 1998. Now, a year later, the Journal , too, is seeing the light of day.

"What I want the BMI and the BMJ to be is the place where the debate for the representation of black people is kept alive and is progressed without fear or favour, a place where we see what the situation is and seek solutions," she says.

"Our target is to ensure that the British media represents ethnic minorities, including the Afro Caribbean and Asian populations, fairly. They will be hearing from us if they don't."

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
arts + entsJK Rowling to publish new story set in wizard's world for Halloween
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites those Star Wars rumours
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

News
i100
Life and Style
tech

Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into conflicts
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Head of Business Development and Analytics - TV

competitive benefits: Sauce Recruitment: Outstanding analytic expertise is req...

Head of ad sales international - Broadcast

competitive + bonus + benefits: Sauce Recruitment: Are you the king or Queen o...

Business Development Manager Content/Subscriptions

£50k + commission: Savvy Media Ltd: Great opportunity to work for a team that ...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker