The need for newspapers to change


by Sunny
19th March, 2007 at 2:36 pm    

Britain’s non-white population amounts to less than 10% so the commercial imperative to follow US trends seems less important. But any demographer will tell you that this population of five million is growing faster than the non-white population. For advertisers,recognising that potential is only a matter of time.

For editors it is not just about sales but effective journalism; reflecting audiences regardless of their class or race. Editors not only have to find stories that matter to their readers, but cover them without a patronising or tokenistic tone. Within that approach newspapers cannot ignore the different lifestyles of their readers or treat them as monolithic blocs. Newspapers need to write not just about minorities but for them. They have to adapt. As Daniel Hernandez pointed out: “Everyone here [in LA] interfaces daily with Latinos, speaks some form of Spanish, and knows Mexican culture and cuisine. In effect, everyone in LA is Latino. Does your morning paper feel like it’s at all cognizant of this?”

- from my article today in the media supplement of The Guardian.
This was this LA Weekly article that partly inspired me.


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  1. ally — on 19th March, 2007 at 2:59 pm  

    Surely the issue is less to do with ethnicity and more to do with wealth / poverty.

    Here in (majority-non white) Old Trafford we don’t even get a delivery of the local free sheets. Neither the Guardian Media Group’s Manchester Metro, nor the Stretford & Urmston Messenger consider us worthy of a paperboy (or girl!).

    Why? It’s not because we’re largely non-white – it’s because we’re largely poor. Meanwhile our own community magazine generates a little bit of advertising income, but it”s almost exclusively from statutory sector services – who are the only people who actually want to ‘reach’ our communities. Nobody wants to sell us anything because we don’t have enough money to buy anything.

    When the black & Asian middle class moves out of the realm of mythology and into the realm of reality, then the advertisers will follow. The problem, I think, is deeper than you portray.

  2. Kismet Hardy — on 19th March, 2007 at 4:11 pm  

    Ethnic publications struggle to get mainsteam ads. You won’t see Gucci or Jaguar in any of these because they argue black and Asians can find what they’re looking for in mainstream publications. And mainstream publications don’t feel much call to change to cater for darker skins. You’re still about as likely to see a black face on the cover as you are to find an article on skin lightening within it! And that’s just the wishy washy entertainment side of publications.

    Newspapers cater for the mainstream. Other than a hope that they change archaic spellings like Moslem or lazy puns on curry, I can’t see catering for the minorities being anything other than a token. Sure the London Paper runs a weekly Bollywood section, but the argument there will always be: if you love bollywood so much, go buy a bollywood mag.

    And how exactly do you ‘refect audiences regardless of their class or race’ without treating them as a ‘monolithic block’?!

  3. Amir — on 19th March, 2007 at 4:17 pm  

    Sunny,

    On the one hand, you think it is important for ethnic minorities to have their own magazines and newspapers and TV channels because they’re a poor, helpless, defenceless minority… yada, yada, yada.

    But here, you’re arguing for more representation in the national press because ethnic minorities are becoming an increasingly powerful and influential demographic force. As Suzy pointed out on a previous thread, demography is destiny, and bigger populations = more power.

    Surely, you can’t have it both ways?

    And yet, you do want it BOTH WAYS!

    What it proves to me, incidentally, is that there is an increasingly aggressive and influential multicultural lobby in this country trying to displace the indigenous population through a combination of mass immigration and identity politics.

    There’s a fashionable left-wing phrase for this kind of ideology…

    Ah yes, I remember… it’s called cultural imperialism.

    Amir

  4. Chris Stiles — on 19th March, 2007 at 4:26 pm  

    ally –


    When the black & Asian middle class moves out of the realm of mythology and into the realm of reality, then the advertisers will follow.

    And where would the advertisers follow them? The Asian middle class – such as it exists already – generally tends to have much of the same pre-occupations as middle class people everywhere.

    Apart from greater representation – as will happen as people bubble upwards quite naturally – I don’t see why the messages themselves would necessarily change.

  5. lithcol — on 19th March, 2007 at 4:44 pm  

    I agree with Chris Stiles. I am a lecturer in the university of London, my Asian origin, black wherever students are hardly different in their views, likes etc to any other European students.

    They are progressive, and I feel sure would feel patronised by advertising aimed at them as ethnic groups, emphasising the origins of parents, grandparents etc.

    Anyway the advance of globalization makes your arguments somewhat redundant Sunny.

  6. Arif — on 19th March, 2007 at 4:50 pm  

    I half agree with Amir. It is a form of cultural imperialism to want to change the cultural dynamics of one group to suit the cultural tastes of another. The mass media is quite an important part of the cultural dynamics in the UK, which is why their misrepresentations can be so irritating.

    I guess for Sunny the point is that the mass media do not belong to one culture. I guess for Amir they belong to his culture. Unless Amir wants to ban non-mainstream media, I guess this makes him a supporter of multiculturalism in this case at least. And unless Sunny is arguing for the banning of minority media (or that they are unviable in the long term), it sounds like he thinks there is a British culture which he can equally lay claim to and includes himself as much as Amir.

    So cultural imperialism is in the eye of the beholder. Is the mass media imperially misrepresenting Britishness as defined by Sunny, or being pressurised to imperially misrepresent Britishness as defined by Amir? I’d say it is/would be nice to have a wide variety of cultural and subcultural media as it is liberating. It is also nice to have a mainstream media which tries to bring the cultures and subcultures together in order to help us get a broad feel for society and explain ourselves to one another.

    We aren’t far from it – but start up and running costs are probably a massive barrier of entry for minority media and commercial pressures/laziness might reduce some of public service potential of the mainstream. It could be worse.

  7. Jagdeep — on 19th March, 2007 at 4:55 pm  

    On the one hand, you think it is important for ethnic minorities to have their own magazines and newspapers and TV channels because they’re a poor, helpless, defenceless minority… yada, yada, yada.

    Ethnic minorities have their own TV stations, magazines and newspapers for simple reasons — not because they’re poor and helpless or defenceless but because those media outlets satisfy a demand. Ethnic minorities have interests and cultural expressions that are not reflected by the mainstream media. So they get together and satisfy that niche, and everyone is happy. It’s only people like you who interpret that as some kind of social crutch or arrogant form of separatism. It’s natural that substantial subcultures express themselves, and that’s why, for example, bhangra music and bollywood and Asian womens fashions are so popularly repped in magazines like the one edited by Kismet Hardy, or that Black British people run websites and newspapers and magazines and award ceremonies to represent and express their culture and have a space to discuss things important to them.

    But there is another public service that the lively health and increasing number of ethnic minority media outlets serve — and that is raising the blood pressure, and bringing out the skin in hives and rashes, of people like you.

  8. Amir — on 19th March, 2007 at 5:02 pm  

    Sunny,

    “Newspapers need to write not just about minorities but for them.”

    Again, this attitude is what Amilcar Cabral referred to as “cultural imperialism.” (In a recent essay for City journal, Christopher Hitchens uses a more modern euphemism: “one-way multiculturalism.”) You seem to despise the indigenous culture of the working-class majority (brilliantly portrayed in a new book by Julian Baggini), denounce any hint of white consciousness as “racism” or “supremacism,” and yet here you are promoting the exact same tribal instincts on behalf of the Asian Diaspora (!?).

    …such a hypocrite.

    Amir

  9. Arif — on 19th March, 2007 at 5:12 pm  

    Amir, the way you present the one-way multiculturalism idea only has force to me if you are saying that the mass media represents the indigenous culture of an indigenous working class majority, and that this is how it should always be. Presumably, everyone else is not mainstream. In which case, it sounds to me that your view of multiculturalism is one-way.

    If you feel the indigenous working class is particularly restricted from setting up minority media and therefore relies on the mainstream media unlike other working class or non-working class cultures, then I would appreciate your help to understand those particularly oppressive dynamics.

  10. Kismet Hardy — on 19th March, 2007 at 5:12 pm  

    Newspapers write for minorities. They’re usually refered to as ethnic/gay/whatever media.

    Now you see why they need to exist Amir?

    So Sunny’s wish doesn’t come true and you find yourself opening up your beloved copy of Daily Mail and reading an article directed at Diwali celebrating gay animal activists.

    You can’t have it both ways either matey :-)

  11. Nyrone — on 19th March, 2007 at 5:16 pm  

    Is that you Bernard Manning?

  12. Sid Love — on 19th March, 2007 at 5:16 pm  

    When will Christopher Hitchens stop feeling the need to bang on about the efficacy of the “Liberation of Iraq”. Someone needs to tell him that there’s more to high-minded contrarianism than obdurate desperation. But not much more.

  13. Amir — on 19th March, 2007 at 5:27 pm  

    Jagdeep (and Kismet),

    (1) “Ethnic minorities have their own TV stations, magazines and newspapers for simple reasons — not because they’re poor and helpless or defenceless but because those media outlets satisfy a demand.”

    I have no PROBLEM with ethnic magazines or newspapers or TV stations (as I’ve pointed out on numerous occasions, ad nauseam). What I object to is the hypocrisy of those who denounce Caucasians for expressing the same ethnic self-interest, or getting intimidated when their families’ neighbourhoods are transformed beyond all recognition by thousands and thousands of foreigners. “Colonisation” is a strong word, but I think it’s a prescient one.

    One the reasons, incidentally, why I oppose multiculturalism and the demographic effects of mass immigration is precisely because it encourages separatism. That’s why I speak favourably of David Goodhart. That’s why I subscribe to Steve Sailer’s “citizenism,” which puts national identity above ethnic identity. Multiculturalism and ethnonationalism are two sides of the same dirty coin. They’re both divisive and demoralising doctrines.

    I rest my case.

    Amir

  14. lithcol — on 19th March, 2007 at 5:41 pm  

    Given that there are so many minorities in this country, I find it incredible to consider that any one national newspaper could address issues pertinent to them.

    Anyway, the principal agenda of national newspapers and other national disseminators of news etc will naturally be aimed at the majority.

    We have recently had a large influx of eastern Europeans, should the media reflect their interests? There are other large minorities, French, German etc. The UK is the UK, it has its own cultural peculiarities, institutions etc continuously evolving. The national media reflect these developments.

    By all means peruse your narrow ethnic, cultural hankerings for the old country if you wish, but don’t expect the national media to be too interested.

    As I stated previously, globalization of media, satellite and the internet, make Sunnys arguments somewhat redundant. You can remain a foreigner in a strange land or you can become a fully fledged citizen and participate.

    My fore bares several generations ago were German, I speak German, I was born in the UK and I am a UK citizen. I am only mildly interested in German culture and news.

  15. Sunny — on 19th March, 2007 at 5:42 pm  

    You seem to despise the indigenous culture of the working-class majority

    when will you ever stop making up such rubbish Amir? If you continue I will have to ban you. To satisfy your own need to fulminate against anything vaguely non-white (apart from Asian women of course because we know you just luuuuurve them) you construct these straw-man arguments about me, carry on the ad-hominem attacks like you’re some oppressed minority, and then run off when people destroy your arguments.

    Make one point, don’t rant or rave. Stop crediting arguments to me that I haven’t made. Otherwise I’ll ban you. You’re crap at having reasoned discussions.

  16. Jagdeep — on 19th March, 2007 at 5:43 pm  

    Amir, you always use the existence of ethnic minority media as the touchstone and raw node that brings you out in rage against the injustice that white people feel. What’s up? You feel persecuted because you can’t express your preference for the company of white people without being called a racist? And Sunny writing an article about how the mainstream media can make more money by reflecting the increasingly heterodox ethnic background of their readership represents to you an example of how white people are being colonised because ‘your’ media is being infiltrated by those seeking to emasculate and slowly destroy the white race.

    You need to get some perspective, to begin with.

  17. Amir — on 19th March, 2007 at 6:08 pm  

    Jagdeep,

    I don’t want a discussion about my blood pressure, my personal life or my current state-of-mind. Etc, etc.

    Basically, I detest hypocrisy (especially when it is twinned with an ideology). If you want to mutter darkly about my deepest thoughts and feelings, go right ahead… but don’t expect a response. I couldn’t give a monkeys about people’s motives. I care only about the consistency and the content of their argument – and, of course, how it relates to the wider scheme of things.

    Take a leaf out of Arif’s book. He’s the worthiest interlocutor I have ever come across.

  18. Amir — on 19th March, 2007 at 6:24 pm  

    Arif,

    “Presumably, everyone else is not mainstream. In which case, it sounds to me that your view of multiculturalism is one-way.”

    I wouldn’t describe myself as a “one-way multiculturalist” because, well, err, … I don’t believe in the ideology of multiculturalism! :-) What I’m trying to do here is expose the contradictory logic in which Sunny presents his political philosophy: he denounces the BNP for (among other things) ethnonationalism and yet he himself uses a similar ethnic platform to endorse the greater “representation” of Asians in media. The endorsement of “multiple identities” is both insincere and inconsistent. To patent a famous line of George Orwell’s… all identities are equal, but some are more equal than others.

  19. ZinZin — on 19th March, 2007 at 6:32 pm  

    “Newspapers need to write not just about minorities but for them.”

    May I suggest that minorities share many of the concerns and interests of the majority. More to the point the majority may make certain minority concerns its own ie Islamic fundamentalism.

  20. Arif — on 19th March, 2007 at 6:38 pm  

    Amir, if the problem Sunny had with the BNP were his perception of their supremacism (not their ethnocentrism) would his stance seem less hypocritical to you?

  21. Jagdeep — on 19th March, 2007 at 6:39 pm  

    Amir — GET SOME PERSPECTIVE

    he denounces the BNP for (among other things) ethnonationalism and yet he himself uses a similar ethnic platform to endorse the greater “representation” of Asians in media

    You equate a far right racist nationalist political movement with an internet magazine that collates news and articles about Asians in the media? When you do this repeatedly the only way you can make sense of your fatuous idiocy is to suggest some kind of recursive mental obsession (with borderline stalker-ish resonances!) You have no argument. Your argument is based on a mendacious and false comparison.

  22. Amir — on 19th March, 2007 at 6:43 pm  

    Jagdeep,

    “You equate a far right racist nationalist political movement with an internet magazine that collates news and articles about Asians in the media?”

    I wasn’t referring to the AIM magazine. I was referring to Sunny’s suggestion that the British press should accommodate itself to the cultural mores and habits of India. That’s cultural imperialism – pure and simple.

  23. ZinZin — on 19th March, 2007 at 6:48 pm  

    “I was referring to Sunny’s suggestion that the British press should accommodate itself to the cultural mores and habits of India.”

    Perhaps the telegraph should stop reporting on the cricket world cup.

  24. Jagdeep — on 19th March, 2007 at 6:50 pm  

    I wasn’t referring to the AIM magazine

    Amir, what the hell do you think we are, idiots who can’t read? You referred to the website directly above and said it was comparable to a neo nazi descended racist political party. That is demented. Your whole argument is based on dementia.

    I was referring to Sunny’s suggestion that the British press should accommodate itself to the cultural mores and habits of India. That’s cultural imperialism – pure and simple.

    Oh I see — so an article about how the LA Times is orienting itself to the growing Hispanic community in California and what that means for newspapers here in terms of covering news items and stories and music or films from outside the mainstream is ‘forcing the cultural mores and habits of India’ upon white people? What a pile of crap. Your paranoia, mendacity and lack of perspective is what unbinds you Amir.

  25. Arif — on 19th March, 2007 at 6:52 pm  

    Amir, if Sunny were suggesting that the British press should accommodate itself to the cultural mores and habits of British people with Indian heritage as well as of other British people with other cultural backgrounds and identities, would that also be cultural imperialism?

    You may dislike it, it may mean some people who don’t like a reflection of Indian cultural mores in the British media are alienated which we should listen to seriously and sensitively, but would it be cultural imperialism if it is reflecting British culture in its diversity including white working class culture as well as middle class Indian-influenced culture in the UK?

  26. Jagdeep — on 19th March, 2007 at 6:56 pm  

    Here is an example of what Sunny probably means. The Times newspaper has started a Bollywood sectiondealing exclusively with Bollywood reviews, articles and gossip.

    They probably started it because it attracts more Asian readers to their website and newspaper, as well as serving non Indians who are interested in Bollywood, the numbers of whom are rising all the time.

    But no! It’s actually cultural imperialism co-ordinated by hypocrites who are stalking the land and media, and white people like Amir are being (metaphorically) strangled and oppressed by it. What arse ended witlessness and paranoia.

  27. Sid — on 19th March, 2007 at 6:57 pm  

    Sell the ideas of your guru Steven Sailer to people who will benefit from replacing narrow chauvinisms for his reasoned, interpolated and fact-based ideas on the benefits of ethnic and cultural uniformity. In other words, you need to preach to those converted to aggressive and strident monoculturalism. Not here where people are already sold on the idea of diversity as a GOOD THING.

  28. Arif — on 19th March, 2007 at 7:03 pm  

    Jagdeep, if there is Amir feels white working class people unrepresented or systematically misrepresented in the media. If those in the media are disproportionately middle class. Then it makes sense for him to interpret changes in policies such as adding Bollywood features as a further representation of shifting middle class preoccupations, not any genuine multiculturalism. Add to that any self-satisfaction that it shows the media to be inclusive when he believes this inclusiveness does not embrace him, then you can see why he might be angry.

    What I am trying to understand better is the nature of this exclusion from Amir’s point of view and what the solution would be if not a variant of multiculturalism which is more sensitive and accommodating to him.

  29. Arif — on 19th March, 2007 at 7:04 pm  

    * remove if from first sentence, and probably lots of other grammatical errors… in a hurry…

  30. Jagdeep — on 19th March, 2007 at 7:10 pm  

    Arif, Amir says all this at a website that does more to criticise multicultural orthodoxies and the old-school way of doing things than any other ethnic minority outlet, from a progressive Asian perspective and from people who want to do everything to increase integration and hack at the elements and attitudes in ethnic minority society that hold us back. To then accuse the people here of being part of an active conspiracy of marginalisation of white people or carriers of the virus of reverse cultural imperialism is mendacious when said once, demented when repeated time and time again.

  31. Vikrant — on 19th March, 2007 at 7:22 pm  

    Amir,

    Cultural imperialism would be too strong a word… As somebody who now lives in a place where his clansmen feel culturally and numerically overhwlemed, i can understand your feelings. Today is Gudi Padva which is a new year according to Indo-Scythian calender, it is celebrated us the Marathas. But heck there is no mention of this in mainstream media in Bombay the very capital of this blasted state, which contrasts with sickening coverage given to cultural festivals alien to this land. Thats life…
    BTW Its aboot the blasted time you got a blog!

  32. Amir — on 19th March, 2007 at 7:23 pm  

    Vikrant,

    Cheers dude. ;-)

  33. Amir — on 19th March, 2007 at 7:25 pm  

    (2) “That is demented. Your whole argument is based on dementia.”

    Do you think George Alagiah is demented, too? Trying to portray your opponent as mentally ill is one of the many techniques of Stalinism.

    Amir

  34. Amir — on 19th March, 2007 at 7:28 pm  

    Here’s a quote from the Alagiah article:

    But this is the multiculturalism so favoured by the chattering classes. Something exotic, something to dip into every now and again. It allows you to say you live in a modern and colourful Britain without ever having to share your garden fence with someone who speaks a different language or who prays to God in a different way.

    Exactly!!

  35. Jagdeep — on 19th March, 2007 at 7:29 pm  

    Amir, claiming that someone who writes an article on how newspapers can reflect the interests and news stories from as wide a range of readers proportionate to the population as being in some way complicit in a conspiracy of marginalising white people is one of the techniques of who, Pol Pot? Hitler? Comparing that with the impulse of a far-right neo nazi organisation is demented and slanderous. Get some perspective.

  36. Amir — on 19th March, 2007 at 7:31 pm  

    Here’s another quote from another Alagiah article:

    Just as the true level of immigration is revealed, this is provoking quite a rumpus. Alagiah says what third worlders despised about British colonists was their refusal to “learn our languages, eat our food or wear our clothes”. Now he accuses some of those colonising Britain of displaying precisely the same insensitivity.

    Oh. My. God. He’s comparing multiculturalism to colonialism – ho, ho, ho!

    Guess I’m pretty demented, eh?

  37. Jagdeep — on 19th March, 2007 at 7:37 pm  

    Amir, who on this website exactly actively seeks to prevent greater integration between ethnic minorities and mainstream society? Who advocates the things Aligaiah decries, such as teaching Bengali or Urdu in schools? Given that this website consistently opposes those kinds of social policies, what is the basis for accusing Sunny or anyone else as being complicit in cultural imperialism? Rememeber, to do that, you have to justify comparing an innocuous article like the one that heads this thread with the impulse and ideology of the far right BNP.

  38. Sid — on 19th March, 2007 at 8:06 pm  

    Just as the true level of immigration is revealed, this is provoking quite a rumpus. Alagiah says what third worlders despised about British colonists was their refusal to “learn our languages, eat our food or wear our clothes”. Now he accuses some of those colonising Britain of displaying precisely the same insensitivity.

    Indians almost never complained about British colonists refusing to “learn our languages, eat our food or wear our clothes”. If anything, the currency to adopt culture flowed in the opposite direction. And who are these ethnic colonising hordes complaining about the hosts not learning Punjabi/Hindi/Bengali? Some illustrative example from Alagaih/Amir would be nice. Otherwise, this is end to end bollocks, as usual.

  39. Sunny — on 19th March, 2007 at 8:41 pm  

    Ooooh! I didn’t know The Times had a Bollywood section. Anyone know when they launched that?

    Oh. My. God. He’s comparing multiculturalism to colonialism – ho, ho, ho!
    Guess I’m pretty demented, eh?

    That you’ve become a funny parody is becoming increasingly obvious Amir. By the way I’ve talked at length to George Aligiah about this and he is nowhere near your path of thinking. After knowing your obsession with the Bell Curve I’d say he’d want to distance himself as much as possible from you. Him and I agree on almost most things around multi-culturalism.

    I don’t know what exactly you’re still frothing at the mouth over. I’ve stated repeatedly that the media has to take into account race and class concerns. One does not negate the other – it is about good journalism. But given that you sound like a Daily Mail reader and all your icons are middle-class right-wing nutjobs who only write about how Middle England is being shafted, I feel that your concern for the poor working class white demographic is actually just made up.

  40. Katy — on 19th March, 2007 at 9:18 pm  

    Hello! What’s with all the SNOW, people? It is fucking freezing. I am lodging a complaint with all the religious people who read this. Please go and talk to whoever it is you talk to and make him/her/them/it understand that this sort of weather is not exactly winning them any new bums on seats. Thank you.

  41. God — on 19th March, 2007 at 9:23 pm  

    This is just the beginning! I have lightning, locusts and brimstone coming for you ungrateful wretches soon! MuhaHaHahahaha!!

  42. Kulvinder — on 20th March, 2007 at 12:54 am  

    Hello! What’s with all the SNOW, people? It is fucking freezing.

    Your people are just genetically weaker Katy :p

  43. Katy — on 20th March, 2007 at 7:32 am  

    That is because we are lovely and sensitive and pre-raphaelite and stuff.

  44. G. Tingey — on 20th March, 2007 at 9:10 am  

    Ah, “writing for the cultural/ethnic minorities”.

    So we’ll just commission someone from the MCB to speak for ALL the followers of Mahmud the deluded, shall we?

    And someone from the RSS to speak for ALL the “hindus”?

    And someone from the Aum sect fro the bhuddists?

    Oops, perhaps not.

  45. soru — on 20th March, 2007 at 9:52 am  

    That’s the thing about newspapers – individuals, or at most families, buy copies. You don’t normally get some centralised organisation buying up 10,000 copies and distributing them round to its members.

    So if you want to sell as many copies as possible, you have a bias towards the majority: female, non-radical, theologically liberal or conservative, not especially politically active. Also, based on the nature of the product you are selling, especially a paper like the Guardian, you are looking at a bias towards the educated, politically liberal, and comfortably off.

    On the other hand, if your goal was not to sell papers, but to stoke a racial holy war in the hope that half way through it would magically transform into a class war, then you’d be doing something different…

  46. Kismet Hardy — on 20th March, 2007 at 10:17 am  

    “Ooooh! I didn’t know The Times had a Bollywood section. Anyone know when they launched that?”

    Very recently. They approached a British Asian mag you may know of asking to be sponsors and pretty much made it clear they were doing it on the back off the success in the London Paper (the Brit Asian mag in question couldn’t afford the partnership :-(

    It’ll be interesting to see how many other broadsheets follow suit but I’m not convinced the Bolly wave will last once people go out and actually watch a shilpa shetty movie…

  47. The Dude — on 20th March, 2007 at 11:13 am  

    Sunny

    I love you man but stop the name dropping and the ban threatening. Censorship in any form is unbecoming of you.

    Amir

    I do not subscribe to your doctrine of Uncle Tom. I cannot for the simply reason that it doesn’t work. Sunny’s original arguement can be reduced to this singluar question. Are mainstream newspapers fit for purpose given the FACT that we ALL live in a multi-cultural society and a ever decreasing global village? I’ll say this again……Are mainstream newspapers (in the UK) fit for purpose given the fact that they are primarily designed to inform, educate and entertain the reading public? For me, the run up to the invasion of Iraq was a perfect illustration of how the fifth estate failed miserably in it’s DUTY to the reading public. I think part of it’s failure to inform was in part due to the fact that it’s makeup was and is what Greg Dyke called “hideously white”.

    Both my wife and I started our journalistic careers in journalism with the Express and Star in Wolverhampton. I was the first black person (apart from the cleaning staff) to set foot on it’s editorial floor, irrespective of the fact that it had a very large non-white readership. That was almost twenty years ago and things haven’t much changed. The Express and Star is still hideously white and the black and asian communities which reside in Wolverhampton and the surrounding areas are still left without any real representation on the pages of the ONLY local newspaper which is suppose to serve them, along with the indigous community which is also being failed. Black and White people have lived side by side with each other in Wolverhampton for many years but you wouldn’t know it judging by some of the attitudes which are still prevalent in that town. Mind you Wolverhampton is not alone. Birmingham and Coventry are no better and everyone is the loser in the process. My old time mentor Johnny Johnston made no apology to the then editor of the Express and Star, Keith Parker, that I was employed not because I was a damn good photographer but also because I was black. My mere presence radically changed to social dyamnics of the Photographic department because Johnny wanted to have his photographers fit for the purpose of photographing the general public which made up the readership of the Express and Star. My inclusion was part of his effort of making that possible. I was able to counter (from the inside) some of the misconceptions that some white photographers had with photographing the black community. This is not some kind of cultural-imperialism but rather the basis of good journalism. Informing, educating and entertaining the general public should never be solely preserve of the white middle class but that’s exactly what’s happening in many, many newspaper editorial floors up and down this country.

  48. Leon — on 20th March, 2007 at 1:59 pm  

    Censorship in any form is unbecoming of you.

    If someone starts a fight in the club and the bouncers throw them out; is this censoring their freedom of expression?

    Amir wrecks threads, so much so that when I see his name on the recent comments I don’t bother reading the thread now. It’s just him flying off the handle and projecting his paranoid delusions onto others.

    I, for one, would have no problem if he were banned from here.

  49. Kismet Hardy — on 20th March, 2007 at 3:03 pm  

    It’d take Amir acle to stop him

    what?

  50. soru — on 20th March, 2007 at 3:37 pm  

    Ok, someone ban kismet for that pun.

  51. Ravi Naik — on 20th March, 2007 at 4:33 pm  

    > What I object to is the hypocrisy of those who denounce Caucasians for expressing the same ethnic self-interest,

    Caucasian refers to a race – it includes europeans (west,north,south,east), north africans and middle-eastern people, hence it includes many ethnicities and cultures, not one. So I don’t see where the hypocrisy lies, nor do I see what is the point of publishing race-specific magazines, be it white or black. Unless you wish to belong to the BNP or Nation of Islam.

  52. justforfun — on 20th March, 2007 at 4:35 pm  

    OT -
    Soru – read your post on 300 @ CIF. Have you read Stephen Bramwell’s “White Devil” about Robert Rogers, the founder of the American Rangers. Ties in with your Ulster Protestant thesis – although he actually fought for the Crown. A very good book that debunks alot of myths about the American Colonists and the Mohawks etc but gives a good account of where and with whom everybody was swapping their genes.

    Justforfun

  53. justforfun — on 20th March, 2007 at 4:45 pm  
  54. Jagdeep — on 20th March, 2007 at 5:00 pm  

    Ok, someone ban kismet for that pun

    I think so too.

    Kismet is a pundamentalist.

  55. soru — on 20th March, 2007 at 5:18 pm  

    Hadn’t seen that book – it looks interesting.

    Another one that relates to the point is:

    http://www.amazon.com/Albions-Seed-British-Folkways-America/dp/0195069056

    This cultural history explains the European settlement of the United States as voluntary migrations from four English cultural centers. Families of zealous, literate Puritan yeomen and artisans from urbanized East Anglia established a religious community in Massachusetts (1629-40); royalist cavaliers headed by Sir William Berkeley and young, male indentured servants from the south and west of England built a highly stratified agrarian way of life in Virginia (1640-70); egalitarian Quakers of modest social standing from the North Midlands resettled in the Delaware Valley and promoted a social pluralism (1675-1715); and, in by far the largest migration (1717-75), poor borderland families of English, Scots, and Irish fled a violent environment to seek a better life in a similarly uncertain American backcountry. These four cultures, reflected in regional patterns of language, architecture, literacy, dress, sport, social structure, religious beliefs, and familial ways, persisted in the American settlements. The final chapter shows the significance of these regional cultures for American history up to the present.

    There’s a similar anthropological theory that says you can trace the difference between the first modern UK, french, German and Russian political systems down to cultural traits of the majority ethnic groups in those countrie. For example, French peasant culture was supposedly egalitarian (for example in dividing inherited land equally between brothers) and anti-authoritarian (a son did not have to obey a father once married). The other three countries matched up the way you would expect, perhaps too neatly to be entirely plausible.

    To drag this back on topic, it is interesting to speculate how much those kind of ethnic/cultural traits do actually influence people in contemporary society, in their choice of newspaper, politics, etc. Can you be a member of an ethnic group without realising it?

  56. The Dude — on 20th March, 2007 at 8:39 pm  

    We are STILL talking about the state of British newspapers, ain’t we? I was never too keen on history.

  57. The Dude — on 20th March, 2007 at 8:42 pm  

    And to answer Soro’s last question: Yes, but only if you are deaf, dumb and blind.

  58. lithcol — on 20th March, 2007 at 9:59 pm  

    Who knows what this thread is now discussing? As far as I can determine, the main stream media reflect the interests of the majority and not narrow ethnic cultural interests. Why should it do otherwise?
    If I am interested in fishing I will buy the Angling Times, I am not so I don’t.
    Are we multicultural? Last time I did a census I came to the conclusion that we are not. Indeed many who belong to particular ethnic cultural minorities would find themselves strangers in a strange land if they returned to their supposed country of origin.
    By all means celebrate quaint ethnic customs, we all do around the UK . Minority pursuits are just that. I buy two papers on Sunday, loads of supplements. I read what I want and disregard the rest. If there is a demand for a Polish supplement I am sure the media will respond. As they would for any minority.

  59. The Dude — on 21st March, 2007 at 12:13 am  

    lithcol

    I couldn’t disagree with you more in your assertion that the central purpose of the main stream media is to reflect the interest (and prejudice) of the majority at the expense of a minority. It was this kind of blind mono-culture unquestioning non examination of the offical version that lead one too many leader writers in their support for an illegal war against Iraq. Editorial floors the land over are top heavy with people who are in the main, male, white, middle class and university educated. In a fast changing and complex world are these people any more capable than a Sikh, a Jew or a Muslim or a member of the working class in relaying the issues of the world to a world weary public? I don’t think so. The business of mass market newspapers cannot be compared to a niche magazine like the Angling Times, unless there is a causal link between flying fishing in the Trent and weapons of mass destruction in Baghdad. Another I don’t think so, me thinks!

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