The Daily Telegraph

BBC ‘must step up ef­forts to con­nect with white work­ing-class au­di­ences’

- By Anita Singh Arts And En­ter­tain­ment Editor Society · June Sarpong

THE BBC has failed to con­nect with white work­ing- class au­di­ences and must do more to make them feel rep­re­sented, ac­cord­ing to the broad­caster’s head of di­ver­sity. June Sar­pong said her work to im­prove rep­re­sen­ta­tion of un­der­served groups would ex­tend be­yond black and Asian peo­ple.

She was ap­pointed as the BBC’S first di­rec­tor of cre­ative di­ver­sity last year and is the only black per­son on the ex­ec­u­tive board.

“I’m the only one in the room. Noth­ing new there,” she said. Speak­ing at Of­com’s Small Screen, Big De­bate con­fer­ence, Sar­pong said her job was to en­sure that no part of the au­di­ence was ig­nored. She said: “Of­ten the BAME [black, Asian and mi­nor­ity eth­nic] au­di­ence gets a lot of fo­cus, in that the BBC doesn’t rep­re­sent BAME au­di­ences enough, and we talk about young peo­ple. But we know we’ve had se­ri­ous is­sues in terms of our con­nec­tion with C2DE au­di­ences and I think it’s about get­ting the bal­ance.

“As some­body who is an ad­vo­cate for di­ver­sity, I’m al­ways mak­ing sure I’m bang­ing the drum for work­ing-class au­di­ences be­cause my par­ents were im­mi­grants and we grew up in a white work­ing-class com­mu­nity.

“I to­tally un­der­stand when it comes to im­mi­gra­tion, that is the com­mu­nity that has ac­tu­ally lived it, and of­ten we don’t have the sort of nu­anced de­bate around this stuff that we need to.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK