Michael Buerk slams BBC for not being 'representative'
26 March 2019 - 11:00 AM

Michael Buerk slams BBC for not being 'representative'

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Michael Buerk thinks the BBC has become too "middle-class".

The 73-year-old broadcaster is concerned that only those with "wealthy parents" are able to break into the organisation and believes the corporation has become "much less representative" of viewers as a result.

Writing for Radio Times magazine, he said: "Journalism's a dying industry, broadcasting's fragmenting and desperately insecure, but they're still fashionable careers for our gilded youth.

"You have to have wealthy parents with contacts to support you, preferably living close to central London.

"While we've been worrying about the lack of diverse faces on the screen, or whether women are paid less fabulously than the men, the BBC, and the media generally, have become much less representative of those they serve."

The former newsreader - who pointed out that once John Humphrys leaves the "Today" programme later this year, all remaining presenters of the show will be privately educated - believes the network has become "uniformly young and urban" and offers a limited view of the world as a result.

He wrote: ""Many of today's generation are brilliant but there are serious implications. The BBC now seems a smaller tent.

"It is not deliberately biased but its world view is bound to reflect the collective set of assumptions of those who work for it. These are more uniformly middle-class, well-educated, young, urban and bright, with little experience of - and sometimes little sympathy for - business, industry, the countryside, localness, traditions and politicians."

When he joined the BBC in 1970, very few of Michael's colleagues were university educated.

He said: "They were sharp, if not especially clever, but they had the smell of the street about them and an empathy with those in the underprivileged sticks from which most had hailed."

A spokesperson for the corporation insisted they are "more diverse" than ever before.

They said: "More than eight out of 10 of our workforce were educated in state schools and we're more diverse than we've ever been, but we want to lead the way and on top of offering hundreds of apprenticeships we recently set out a range of further action to find and develop the best talent whatever their background."

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