Nothing caused so much anger as my suggestion that the British media is profoundly socially exclusive. The journalists denying this are waging a crusade against undeniable fact, evidence and data — and, by doubling down, are helping to ensure that this profound injustice is not rectified.
Just 7% of the British population are privately educated. But according to the Sutton Trust in 2016, 51% of Britain’s top journalists are privately educated. Just 19% attended a comprehensive school — unlike nearly 90% of the population.
According to the ‘Elitist Britain’ report — published by the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission in 2014, 43% of newspaper columnists are privately educated; just 23% went to comprehensives. Two thirds of new entrants to journalism came from managerial and professional backgrounds: more than twice the level of the rest of the population.
According to another government study, journalists are second only to doctors when it comes to the dominance of those from professional or managerial parental backgrounds. In other words: journalism is one of the most socially exclusive professions in Britain.
The issue is not just class. A study in 2016 suggested that 94% of journalists are white and 55% are men. While 5% of Britons are Muslims and 3% are black, just 0.4% of journalists are Muslim and 0.2% are black. Women are paid considerably less, and men dominate senior roles.