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FAQ – Why do we need more solutions?
What’s the current status of diversity and representation in German media companies?
In 2020, the New German Media Professionals published a study titled “Diversity in German Journalism” which featured research on interculturally diverse media employees in German editorial teams.
In the study, only a small percentage of the participating editors-in-chief could demonstrate a migrant background; a total of eight out of 126. Of these eight individuals, no one represents a group subject to particular discrimination; no one is Black, comes from a Muslim familial background or from one of the largest immigrant demographics in Germany (Turkish, Polish or Russian speaking).
It wasn’t possible to obtain any figures on the migrant backgrounds of media specialists as data protection laws and anti-discriminatory measures prevent almost all media companies collecting data on this topic. Optimistically, the figure most likely doesn’t exceed 5% (non-representative study conducted in NRW in 2016).
However, this figure covers all individuals with a migrant background, whether visible or not. The number of media specialists with a visible migrant background is almost guaranteed to be lower.
In comparison, according to the Federal Statistic Office, at present, 26% of the German population has a migrant background (i.e. either they themselves or one of their parents were born without German citizenship).
Why is there still a lack of diversity in the German media industry?
According to the study “Diversity in German Journalism” conducted by the New German Media Professionals, while most of the surveyed editors-in-chief want to introduce more diversity among their editorial teams, none of them were able to specify concrete measures or targets.
- None of the media companies in Germany have established a long-term, comprehensive diversity strategy, unlike big names like the BBC.
- Up to now, anti-racist media practices have either been completely ignored or hardly touched upon in journalistic training.
- There is a lack of awareness of why diversity and anti-racism in the media industry are key issues among media companies.
- According to statements issued by media companies, when they hire employees, they solely focus on the accolades of the applicants. They also claim there is a lack of applicants with a diverse background.
Why does that lead to a worse media landscape?
- Media won’t be able to succeed in adequately conveying reality if many perspectives are left out.
- Experiences the majority of the population doesn’t have will simply be ignored or underreported, such as racism.
- A growing target audience of people who aren’t white or have a migrant background and simultaneously pay subscription fees will fall to the sidelines as their perspectives aren't included in the media.
- When society is represented from one angle, stereotypes get solidified (keyword: Chimamanda Adichie "The Danger of a Single Story"). If you only explain one perspective towards a situation, this is often interpreted as the absolute truth.