Representing the Nation: A Comparative Study of the Social Constitution of Senior BBC Journalists, Cabinet-Level Politicians and the British Public

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Abstract

This study assesses the social constitution of senior BBC journalists and British politicians, and considers the extent to which they reflect the general public. By examining ten variables - including gender, age, ethnicity, parental occupation and education - this paper shows the majority of the BBC and Conservative cohorts spent their formative years in the more prosperous regions of the UK and have family backgrounds that suggest relative wealth. Many also attended private secondary schools, and just under half studied at the elite British universities, Oxford and Cambridge. The senior Labour politicians, however, are a closer match to the national population in gender and regional influences. They also have relatively modest backgrounds, and few attended elite universities. This paper raises the question of whether middle class, metropolitan journalists, who have spent most of their lives in southern England, can identify with – and report on - issues that affect the greater British population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-115
JournalJournalism Practice
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Dec 2019

Keywords

  • BBC, journalists, political communication, class, diversity, politics, representation

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