About one in four people living in Australia today come from a non-European cultural background. But they make up just 6.1% of reporters and presenters who talk about the news on Australian television – and no more than 1.3%, if you look only at the commercial networks.
This snapshot is from the latest report by non-profit journalism association Media Diversity Australia (MDA), produced in partnership with the University of Sydney and the University of Technology Sydney. Who can tell Australian stories? 2.0 is the group’s second “newsletter”, surveying the diversity of Australian media.
“MDA is working to create a representative media landscape that looks and sounds more Australian,” said the organization’s chief executive, Mariam Veiszadeh.
Researchers have already found that diversity is important for maintaining trust and relevance in journalism, and also for avoiding “reinforcing stereotypes or reproducing inequalities” for some groups.
However, after reviewing more than 25,000 entries on 103 television shows over a two-week period in June, the report found that people of Anglo-Celtic descent remained “grossly overrepresented on television, in all states and territories”.
This group made up 78% of all journalists and presenters on our screens, despite only representing 54% of the total population (according to 2021 census data).
Compared to the results of the previous survey (which took data from June 2019), there were “pockets of progress”. The overall percentage of Aboriginal presenters, for example, increased from 1.2% to 5.4%.
However, the report found that this representation is not evenly distributed across the networks and is largely dependent on producing a “relatively small number” of presenters (think: Tony Armstrong at the ABC and Narelda Jacobs at Network 10). .