media inclusiveness

10 very practical ideas for newsrooms that want to be more gender sensitive and inclusive

By Fojo-Media Institute

In November, Fojo Media Institute gathered trainers and journalists from five countries in Chisinau, Moldova, for the final session of the school on gender sensitivity and media inclusion. In this article, we have compiled 10 practical tips for newsrooms looking to maintain diversity in their content and within their organisations.

  1. Conduct regular self-reflection sessions in your team. What stereotypes might be inherent to your editorial staff? Does the composition of your team really allow you to reflect on society? Which groups’ perspectives are easy to forget?
  2. Analyze your contact base of experts and speakers. Do you have enough male and female experts on each topic? Which population groups are represented in your database, and which are not? Strive for diversity.
  3. Remember the intersectional perspective. Each person belongs to several groups at the same time – by gender, age, ethnicity, profession, religion, etc. For example, it is not enough to analyse your content only based on gender. What are the chances of women politicians of pre-retirement age getting featured in your articles? And what about a young man from a national minority?
  4. In your publications, pay attention to human stories of vulnerable groups (for example, in ”One Day With…” format). The same old “success stories” should not define the “norm” – different stories of different people deserve attention and space in media publications.
  5. Another way to promote diversity in the media and society is to write about how human thinking works, how we judge people, how stereotypes and biases work.
  6. Find existing or develop your own editorial definitions of sexism, stigmatization, discrimination. Use them to evaluate your articles and advertisements placed in your media. Create a list of stop words and banned visuals. Incorporate this information into your editorial policy.
  7. Designate a staff member who would assist colleagues in evaluating materials or advertisements before publication, a “gender sensitivity and inclusion officer”. Make sure that this employee regularly attends courses or training on relevant topics.
  8. Consider integrating the function of accounting for the gender of the authors of the materials into your CRM. If resources permit, also keep statistics on heroes, experts, and speakers. This way you can quickly get insights on gender balance and diversity in your publications.
  9. Analyse how often your journalists turn to speakers or experts of the same gender (female journalists to women, male journalists to men). Does the gender of journalists influence their choice of experts? It might be reasonable to motivate employees to change their approach.
  10. Conduct an anonymous survey on harassment in your team. Adopt a workplace harassment policy. Create a convenient mechanism for reporting sexual harassment and make sure all employees know who they can contact and how.

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