BBC presenter Clive visits University of Westminster

Yesterday, renowned journalist Clive Myrie, who is a well known afro-Caribbean radio and TV personality told students at the University of Westminster about how they should not be intimidated by the BBC.

At a talk at the University, Clive urged young people from ethnic minorities to be brave and aim high when it came to their journalistic ambitions. He drew attention to the fact that just because the BBC is so under represented when it comes to people from asian, black or other ethnic minority backgrounds, that is no reason to believe that a career at the BBC is not achievable for these people.

This was a response to statistics in July stating that the BBC only employed 12,4% BAME (black, asian and minority ethnic) staff, hugely misrepresenting the diversity of the population. He stressed that the BBC is embarrassed at the lack of diversity within the workforce, and that they would jump at the chance for talented people to join up, regardless of race, colour or background. “People need to stop thinking of the BBC as a predominantly white, male dominated arena and realise that the organisation needs ethnic minorities to contribute and relate to their audiences”.

The experienced journalist has done a lot of work for the BBC and various other news outlets over the years. From reporting in Iraq to covering the recent Ebola crisis the man has done it all. He was also a key reporter when President Barack Obama became the first black President to win the American election in history.

When asked about the key to his success, he said that he wanted to be known as “a journalist that is black, not a black person that is a journalist”. He put his energy into producing good quality journalism, and showing that he had had the ability to be versatile and cover a wide range of topics, which he stressed is what all young journalists should be doing. “Show that you are the best there is. Don’t let colour or race dominate other peoples opinions of you. And most importantly, keep on trying. If you bash at those doors for long enough eventually you’ll find that one opens for you”.

When asked his opinion about people from ethnic minorities needing to be trained more to give them a better chance of succeeding in journalism, Clive replied with scepticism. He said that it is not about being better trained or more able. It is about people from diverse backgrounds being too afraid to approach the BBC and offer their services. According to him we are still too stuck in the frame of mind that ethnic minorities need to stick to broadcasters such as Channel 4, where they feel that they have a better chance of making something of themselves. “There is no reason for you not to be employed by the BBC as long as you work hard and know the job. They would be mad to turn you away if you prove that you are a good at what you do”.

The talk also emphasised that in no way did he feel that being from an ethnic minority background was a free pass to success. “Being black or asian or of a minority background shouldn’t guarantee you a job. Your determination and hard work should be what speaks for itself”.

Picture and videos: Mengsui Lu, Ruheena Husain, TVDrewFRamón J. Goni Santalla

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