Zerem told an eager audience of aspiring journalists that a diverse pool of talent can have an influence in the production process resulting in improved output.
“I think it’s pretty clear that quantatively and qualitatively we get a better news product if we have a diverse workforce”, he said. “Also, increasingly broadcasters and newspapers want a diverse workforce, but there are a million reasons why that’s not happening”.
Nzerem said that diversity in news content only happens “as a result of who is making the decisions behind the scenes, the journalists that are actually doing the work”.
Since 9/11 the media has faced greater challenges in terms of how they represent visible minorities, particularly members of the Muslim community. Nzerem praised the efforts of Deborah Gabriel, founder of People with Voices, for trying to help more people of colour into careers in the journalism industry.
The Channel 4 and More 4 presenter acknowledged that the market is shrinking in the wake of massive jobs cuts and said that in order to be in contention, black journalists have to be better. Nzerem stressed that the single most important factor for journalists is to be aggressive news hounds and source good stories.
“Finding stories is what it’s all about. Be fast, be accurate – that’s the kind of bread and butter. But those that do well are people that bring in stories that others don’t. That’s really difficult to do”.
Nzerem was speaking at the launch of People with Voices, a social enterprise involved in journalism training and news publishing. It’s unique feature is an online news publication delivering content from a varied team of aspiring and experienced journalists and writers in order to produce news content that truly reflects the cultural diversity of Britain.
Trainees who attend intensive workshops in news, feature writing and media law are able to develop long term experience writing for the website as well as being able to build a portfolio of their work to show potential employers.
Deborah Gabriel said: “I am very grateful to Keme for taking the time to come along and deliver a really interesting, practical but entertaining presentation. The audience were really impressed with what he had to say. It’s also inspirational for them to learn from a popular and successful journalist like Keme”.