The Guardianâ€™s Weekend editor has praised diverse London-based online magazine Gal-dem as â€œthe agents of change we needâ€� ahead of the teamâ€™s takeover of the magazine on Saturday.
Gal-dem, staffed by people of colour, is working on getting more diversity into the mainstream media and in UK newsrooms.
According to figures from a Reuters Institute survey carried out in 2016, there is still some way to go before newsrooms more aptly reflect the make-up of the wider UK population.
It found the journalism industry to be 94 per cent white, compared with 87 per cent of the UK population (2011 census figures), and 55 per cent male dominated.
Polling 700 UK journalists, the research found that 2.5 per cent of British journalists are Asian, versus 6.9 per cent of the UK population, and 0.2 per cent are black, compared with 3 per cent of the population.
Only 0.4 per cent of British journalists identify as Muslim, compared to 4.8 per cent in the UK.
â€œItâ€™s appalling,â€� Gal-dem deputy editor Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff told Press Gazette. â€œThere really needs to be more diversity and not just white, British people in UK newsrooms.â€�
Gal-dem is the brainchild of 23-year-old Bristol University student Liv Little (pictured second from left). It launched online in 2015 with a team of 60 university students â€“ all women.
â€œWe come from different backgrounds, we wanted a name that represented that,â€� says Brinkhurst-Cuff (pictured third from left).
â€œWe did get a lot of people saying to us â€˜you wonâ€™t get far with a name like thatâ€™ and â€˜people wonâ€™t take you seriouslyâ€™, but weâ€™ve clearly done well.
â€œSince we launched, weâ€™ve only really received positive feedback, but you do get a couple of people who say the odd things, but itâ€™s mostly been good.â€�
Gal-dem now has a team of 17 people and earlier this year moved into an office in Peckham, south London, which is funded on a supported business scheme.
In September 2016 it launched a magazine that is published once a year.
Says Brinkhurst-Cuff: â€œGal-dem might be a magazine written and produced by women of colour andÂ non-binary people of colour â€“ but itâ€™s not just aimed at one group of people, itâ€™s for everyone.â€�
The magazine has featured a host of famous faces, from US TV superstar Oprah Winfrey, actress Lupita Nyongâ€™o and musicians Corinne Bailey Rae and Ray BLK.
Discussing the future of Gal-dem, Brinkhurt-Cuff says: â€œOur mission going forward is to push for more intersectionality when and where we can, continue to raise the voices of women of colour and non-binary people of colour and develop our business plan.â€�
With the hope of tackling diversity at some of the UKâ€™s national newspapers, Gal-dem has joined forces with The Guardian and will take over Saturdayâ€™s Weekend magazine with work exclusively by women and non-binary people of colour.
Every page of Weekend, out 11 August, will include articles that reveal Gal-demâ€™s mission to bring the work of underrepresented individuals into the mainstream media.
It will feature content from Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott on her work-life balance, a dedicated Q&A column by Humans actress Gemma Chan, and author and vlogger Dina Torkia on her life in beauty, with artwork by Rosaline Shahnavaz and Michelle Marshall.
Guardian Weekend editor Melissa Denes (pictured second from right) said: â€œThis has been such a fun and inspiring issue to work on, with a team of truly impressive young editors, writers and creatives.
â€œOn Weekend, we value diversity when it comes to the people we interview, who write and work for us, who are voices in our features, and who appear in our photoshoots.
â€œBut Gal-demâ€™s takeover has moved the dial in a really interesting way and proved we have further to go when it comes to our bylines.
â€œI am white, but my daughters are not, and in a media (and political) landscape which features too few girls and women who look like them, Gal-dem are the agents of change we need.â€�
Liv Little, Gal-dem founder and editor-in-chief, said: â€œIf someone had told us when we started Gal-dem, almost three years ago, that weâ€™d have the opportunity to take over the Guardian Weekend we would have laughed.
â€œIt’s an incredible opportunity for both our teams to learn from each other.
â€œThe journalistic integrity of The Guardian has been something we’ve been massively inspired by, and having the chance to commission an entire team of women and non-binary people of colour to produce this issue has been overwhelming.â€�
Women of colour are also dominating the covers of the September editions, out this month, of many American magazines including Vogue, Porter, and Elle.
â€œWeâ€™re definitely moving in the right direction,â€� Brinkhurt-Cuff tells Press Gazette.
â€œItâ€™s so nice to see all the covers and itâ€™s that sort of representation that is something I would have wanted to see as a little girl growing up, so itâ€™s a positive move forward.â€�Â
Source: Digital Journalism