If you flick through the channels on your TV right now, the chance that you will see a Chinese, Korean, Japanese or any other oriental race on screen is close to nothing. Although Orientals are one of the most longest residing immigrants in the UK, making up nearly 2% of the whole population, why are East Asians so unrepresented on screen?
So the easy way out of the question would be – discrimination, but that would be a lie. British broadcasters are not avoiding hiring ethnic minorities, in fact they are investing more and more money in diversity departments to expand the spectrum of their workforce. Schemes and communities have been set up to find talent in ethnic minorities, although I cannot say if they have been successful or not. We will probably see the results of these schemes in the future, maybe even in 2013.
The truth is, East Asians are not that interested in the media industry. Take Nottingham University for example. Nottingham University has two other campuses, one in China and the other in Malaysia. This allows students to easily circulate between the campuses, meaning that every year the UK campus has an influx of over 1000 East Asian students. However hardly any of these students are involved in the three main student media services, NUTS (Nottingham University Television Station), URN (University Radio Nottingham), and Impact Magazine.
East Asians in general are more inclined to move towards the maths and art sectors, so the lack of East Asians working in the media can been seen as an issue we must tackle on both sides. Journalism and broadcasting as a career path should be made more open to consideration, such as the Asian American Journalist Association is an example of the prominence of East Asians on screen. The British media industry has a lot to learn from US broadcasters. I understand that America is larger than the UK but British television has established themselves as an internationally established broadcaster, so they really do have to catch up in terms of diversifying.
What I have noticed while researching for this article, is the prominence of Asian-American female broadcasters and reporters on US news networks Although East Asians on screen is still uncommon, America had definitely succeeded in breaking that colour barrier. I feel that American broadcasters have encouraged diversity for a long time but at the same time they have maintained their standard of broadcast by selecting young talent and developing skills rather than employing ethnic minorities for company statistics.
Korean-American reporters such as Julie Chang, Christina Park, Juju Chang and Lee Ann Kim (respectively, as seen in the featured image) , have established themselves in their fields and they inspire me constantly that through dedication, time and patience a career can be created in the ever-competitive broadcast industry. I was always taught by my family ‘you have to work 10 times harder than everyone else because you are Korean’. Although I don’t completely agree as I have always viewed everyone as equals, I now understand the truth to that message. As an ethnic minority I shouldn’t give the employer any excuse NOT to employ me. This message goes out to all ethnic minorities, use your time to skill up and gain as much experience as you can and slowly a more diverse industry can be created.