Despite the fact that visible minorities make up 10 per cent of the UK population at over 6 million people, the average newspaper or magazine does not provide sufficient coverage of issues relating to the interests and experience of visible minorities in the UK.
According to Deborah Gabriel, founder and director of People with Voices, with growing visible minority communities where younger populations are increasing in contrast to Britain’s ageing white population; the changing demographic landscape in the UK will force change as advertisers wake up to the spending power of visible minority communities, which is estimated to be worth £46.7 billion.
“I believe that the time has come to bridge the gap that exists between the mainstream and ethnic media”, Gabriel said. “We have to look at ways to do this that brings different groups together, rather than keeping them separate.
“That’s how the idea to establish ‘People with Voices’ was conceived. It’s about having a new type of publication that truly reflects the ethnic and cultural diversity within society, both in the content and in terms of its writers and journalists”.
As a social enterprise, People with Voices aims to promote community cohesion through its online publication which presents a variety of social, cultural and political perspectives to inform, educate and entertain its readers.
It aims to encourage and support more people from visible minority communities into journalism careers through its unique training programme that combines theoretical knowledge with practical training and work experience writing for the website. The course curriculum has been especially developed from multiple perspectives that promote cultural diversity and inclusion.
Gabriel, a sessional journalism lecturer at Birkbeck, University of London said that students benefit “by developing a greater sensitivity to who and what they are reporting as well as promoting mutual understanding and respect among the learners who come from a variety of social and ethnic backgrounds”.
The idea received backing from UnLtd, a charity supporting social entrepreneurs and won a place at Accelerator, a business incubator in E2 managed by London Metropolitan University.
The launch of People with Voices will take place on April 4th, when the new website www.peoplewithvoices.com goes live. Training courses begin on April 25th and will run mostly on Saturdays.
Gabriel said: “I hope that People with Voices will be a catalyst for change that will not only help to break down barriers that hinder a more diverse media workforce, but through its content will have a positive impact on how people relate to each other in general”.