the media industry needs to look outside the white male able-bodied elite to others who want to speak truth to power. Without that, it could so easily become an industry just speaking to itself.Jane Martinson , Pale, male and posh: the media is still in a class of its own 29-04018 ,The Guardian.
Northwest Ireland 2019 a quick look at social media channels on a Friday morning and we see the usual lip service to a string of white conservative politicians .
Lets cut to the chase . Just where is the diversity in the Northwest media today ?
In terms of gender whilst we have genuinely talented journalists in the Northwest like Eileen Magner , Claire Ronan, Leona O’ Neill to name a few covering these issues with ease and skill there is not enough of them to go around in a tough industry which faces huge challenges in the digital age.
The Northwest has never had a stronger need to discuss issues like Health , homelessness, Climate change , disability ,racism ,housing, Direct provision ,migration , discrimination, the rise of fascism ,equality. sexual violence , sexual health and education and unemployment.
Rooskey , Ballinamore , Achill, towns in the Northwest that have been at the centre of some of the most significant social justice issues in Ireland of 2019 have had far right agitators touting for new members on the back of absolutely dire planning from the dept of justice who’s attempts to create direct provison centres in the Northwest and throughout the country without consultation with local communities have had dire and in some cases violent consequences .
We need to hear more diverse viewpoints and arguments, and have more nuanced opinions and conversations in our local media on these and many other issues . Class dominance, gender inequality . racism , violence , the 2019 reality of what’s actually occurring in Irish politics culture and society today.
We have positive stories and news happening daily from marginalised and minority communities .In Sligo people like Mabel Chah – Musician and Sligo Global Kitchen member, groups like the Sanctuary runners , projects like the Sligo traveller group all out there in the community doing some amazing work lets hear about their stories too. Mabel Chah was recently interviewed on a national TV show but the local media seems to have completely missed the rise of a star until after the fact.
At the very least whilst predominantly focusing on the issues mentioned above local and regional media need to re-frame their often times outdated narrative and not make their contribution to the story predominantly about reinforcing and perpetuating stereotypes and tropes against the most vulnerable in society.
Its no surprise to see feminism and women’s activism, issues around diversity ,marginalisation , minority groups are not getting the representation so greatly need .The world is moving on Ireland’s population is changing .We have many new communities .Where is their news in mainstream media?
Journalism about social justice issues in the Northwest particularly Broadcast journalism remains lost in a Father Ted esqe 1980s trope ,shock jock mode ,constantly featuring the powerful and the wealthy . A cosy club of friday morning panels and wink ,wink, nudge .nudge networking respectability politics, Its been done for this way for as long as we remember why change now ?
Why ? “Nothing About Us Without Us!” is a slogan used by the disability community to communicate the idea that no policy should be decided by any representative without the full and direct participation of members of the group(s) affected by that policy. This involves national, ethnic, disability-based, or other groups that are often thought to be marginalized from political, social, and economic opportunities.
We need to see representation and hear stories from the people today’s stories are actually about not the easy option of rolling out the suited official or politician who already have a large platform and media pr machine behind them to get their voice heard .
In today’s Northwest media commercial interests, tourism and promoting the Northwest as a leading tech and remote working centre are dominating social media and are all very important issues and vital to the Northwest which is often neglected by national government and suffered greatly under austerity but we ignore our social justice problems at our peril. and viewing them through a distorted lens which they are currently being portrayed by this pale male stale media here serves no one except those who are out to keep the status quo .