In contrast to other branches, media companies are criticized as ‘lagging behind’ in becoming ethnically diverse, and they are too slow in making progress of diversity efforts (e.g. Horsti & Hultén, 2011; Graf, 2011; Markova & McKay, 2013, Horsti et al 2014). For example, when it comes to media professionals with migrant backgrounds, the numbers are very low: Only three percent of journalists have a migrant background according to a survey of the German Journalist Association in 2007 (Poettker 2013). Especially, black television journalists in Germany are rare. There are no news anchors of African origin, and there are only a few isolated cases of entertainment programs, where black journalists are in front of a camera.
This paper examines how media companies assess the importance of this issue of diverse workforce. As I am especially interested in the workforce (and not in programming), I have mainly interviewed 10 HR managers and staff who are responsible for personnel development and diversity issues within German media organizations during the fall of 2013 and the spring of 2014, and looked at their documented policies and diversity programs. In this paper, I focus on how HR managers, mainly from private media companies, observe the communication climate for diversity issues in their organization, and how they address recruitment obstacles. More concretely, I want to explore, first, how the topic of a diverse workforce becomes an organizational problem (or not), and, second, which solutions appear and on the basis of which expectations.
Nordmedia 2015. Media Presence - Mobile Modernities, Copenhagen August, 13-15, 2015