University Alliance calls for more academic diversity in the media

Member universities to take practical action to increase the diversity of higher education’s media commentators

Universities that are members of University Alliance (UA) aim to double the number of academics participating in media opportunities over the next three years.

In the manifesto for a new campaign launched today, UA says it will take practical steps to encourage more academics, particularly those from diverse backgrounds, to take part in media opportunities.

These steps will include offering academics knowledge and skills development, including free media training with former BBC journalist Adam Batstone, social media training, and access to a peer-to-peer mentoring network.

UA and its universities will also pitch UA experts to the media, and a new ‘Expert Bank’ has been launched on UA’s website, enabling the media to search for experts by topic.

The campaign’s goals: 

  • Double the number of UA academics participating in media opportunities over three years.
  • Increase diversity of UA media commentators – ensuring it represents the diversity of UA members regardless of their ethnicity, age, gender or disability.
  • Raise the profile of UA members within the media and drive interest in Alliance universities as a tremendous source of media expertise.
  • Generate awareness of the value of research conducted by UA members within the media and the wider public domain.

 

“Central to UA’s mission is unlocking potential and e­ffecting change, and through this campaign we hope to do our bit to help address the historic underrepresentation of diverse voices in the media,” said University Alliance CEO Vanessa Wilson.

“Our new Expert Bank will make it easier for journalists to reach a diverse range of experts, and the peer network will ensure visibility of role models and accessible mentoring and guidance which along with the training sessions should make a big difference in supporting Alliance academics taking up media opportunities.

“This is an ambitious programme of work which will not only support more of our academics to engage with the media, but also raise the collective value and status of applied research undertaken by our universities.”

There are plans to extend the scheme in future to encourage academics to engage with government policy, including making select committee appearances.


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