There’s something a bit too same-same about The Age‘s newest journalists.
Over the weekend, The Age penned a short welcome piece to its newest staffers – nothing overtly out of the ordinary.
What does stand out, however, is the five recent hires are all-male and all-white.
In an industry and overall cultural milieu where equality, diversity, and inclusion dominates the conversation, the move by The Age is confounding.
Advertising consultant, founder of IfWeRanTheWorld and MakeLoveNotPorn and prominent campaigner for equality and diversity Cindy Gallop said she had the same reaction to The Age’s latest hires as she did to Leo Burnett’s all-male, all-white hires back in 2015.
Speaking to B&T Gallop said: “It’s 2019, The Age. What the fuck are you thinking?!”
Digging around in The Age‘s online media kit, Gallop pointed the move is somewhat ironic considering its audience is 47 per cent female.
She added: “You’ll notice the visuals in the media kit generally attempt to represent as gender-equal and diverse. Why bother, if the statement you’re making editorially is that you only care about anything through the white male lens?
Gallop said advertisers, brands and agencies should “sit up and take notice”.
“This is not how you grow ad revenues and circulation with the gender that is both the primary advertising target and the primary users and sharers of content on social media. And this is not how you reflect, represent and cover modern-day Australia,” Gallop said.
Champion for equality and advertising phenomenon Bec Brideson, who was one of the three per cent of women globally to attain a creative director position and now runs her own agency, also spoke out against The Age’s latest hires.
“It is hard to swallow that The Age cannot see that the five recently hired men in the article are all (presumably similarly able-bodied), culturally and generationally all from the same factory,” Brideson told B&T.
“We live in an era where the Financial Times have developed a bot in a dedicated effort to see male and female opinions sought and quoted in equal representation. We live in an era where the 2019 Women for Media team reveals how far we still have to go to reach gender equality, and where the Geena Davis Institute runs regular research across data points that can be measured for impact and influence so change can be implemented.”
Brideson said The Age’s hiring decision is perpetuating inequality in the media landscape.
“The media is perpetuating all kinds of inequality with such decisions. For me, this is a concern for our justice system, for our future transparency, and worse still, for the ‘permission to re-offend’ protection afforded to the guilty with connections to media people in the right places,” she said.
Despite the fact its newest hires are all white and male, a spokesperson for The Age told B&T the publisher was committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace.
“The Age (along with parent company, Nine) is dedicated to a diverse and inclusive workplace and we regularly recruit from a varied background for roles across the business. Late last year, this was reflected in the appointment of eight trainee journalists and the newspapers are currently in the process of hiring Indigenous reporters.”