Sky boosts diversity drive with scholarships
The on-going debate about increasing the ethnic diversity in the media usually focuses on the BBC, but apparently Sky have been paying attention as well. Last week the cable and satellite TV station announced it is to strengthen its support of diversity within the TV industry by offering five new scholarships for young people from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
The pay-TV broadcaster has teamed up with the National Film and Television School to offer successful applicants places on a range of TV courses.
It will fully fund three places on the Broadcast Production course and two on the Digital and Content Formats course.
The places will be offered to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, with a particular focus on black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds and disabled talent.
This is the latest diversity initiative from Sky, which launched the Sky Academy last year that was designed to create opportunities for up to 1 million young people by 2020.
The initiative is supported by culture minister Ed Vaizey, who launched a diversity roundtable in January. At the roundtable, Sky managing director of content Sophie Turner Laing called for more accountability for broadcasters rather than fresh targets.
Whilst we obviously applaud the scheme, there is a concern that such diversity schemes always seem to concern themselves with entry level employment. In the media, as in the Police force, the problem is not just in recruitment of BME staff, but also in the progress and retention of those staff once they are there. How about some diversity schemes that focusses on management level? Just an thought.
BBC promises to spend more money on the arts
I have to wonder about the direction that the new Director General is taking the BBC. After announcing some bad news a fortnight ago about the end of youth channel BBC 3 on TV, he has now announced some supposedly good news – an extra £3 million to be spent on arts programmes across TV, radio and online in the coming year.
“The arts really matter. They are not for an elite or for a minority. They’re for everybody,” said Hall. “I worry the arts could become more marginalised unless we do more to reach out to children and young people.”
Now I’m all for more arts at the Beeb, but look at the events they are taking about – adaptations of Shakespeare’s Richard III and Henry VI; a live broadcasts of the Duchess of Malfi, and various collaborations with the Hay festival, Glyndebourne the Royal Academy, the National Portrait Gallery, the British Library, and the National Galleries of Scotland. All very worthy, and all very grey and dull.
And look at the people that have been recruited to advise. Nicholas Serota, from the Tate Gallery, Vicky Featherstone, from the Royal Court theatre, and Nicholas Hytner, formerly of the National Theatre,
Excuse me Mr Hall, but I thought you said you didn’t want arts be for an elite? This all looks pretty elitist to me. The kind of stuff that they used to show on BBC 2 when I was kid. Is he deliberately trying to drive young viewers away? Does he have any idea what kind of art young people like to consume? Maybe if the BBC execs weren’t recruited the Royal Opera House, the Tate, and the National Theatre he would have a better idea. Which takes us back to the point about more diversity in senior management and not just entry level!
Media Diversified launch kickstarter campaign
Just as we at the TVC agitate to promote a more representative and diverse workforce in the creative media industry, the organisation Media Diversified are waging a similar campaign. After starting last year as a one woman band, the project has grown to include a world-wide group of writers of colour and an international legion of subscribers and twitter followers. Last week the organisation launched a kick-starter campaign to raise funds to ensure their continued survival and take their mission to the next level. You can check out their promotional You Tube video here.
And finally for Funniest thing I’ve seen on-line this week.
This involves comedian Louis C.K. and Oscar nominated actor Bradley Cooper, and goes out to all struggling aspiring actors. This should provide some inspiration…….
Louis C.K. & Bradley Cooper (The Irony)
That’s all for this week, but if you just can’t hang on for seven days to get your next fix of TV industry news, check our facebook page for daily updates.