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BBC seeking Black anchors as well as older ones

mishal-husainThere’s much coverage in today’s papers about plans by the BBC to recruit an older female newscaster, but one little-noticed aspect of the BBC’s statement was the suggestion that they are also seeking more Black TV presenters

In a statement today, a BBC spokesperson said the broadcaster was seeking newsreaders from all “backgrounds”, raising the possibility of younger talented journalists like News24 anchor Mishal Husain (pictured above) from diverse backgrounds.

While Fleet Street’s finest have become fixated with the idea that White City are only after a female presenter aged 50 or over – with some commentators today putting forward ex-Strictly judge Arlene Phillips and Moira Stewart as their favoured candidates – the BBC’s statement makes clear they are not just looking at older women, but are also looking to recruit more Black newscasters.

The statement reads: “We are conscious of employment law in the area and are not seeking to exclude any age group or gender in our recruitment – in fact we are trying to ensure that our presenters reflect the audiences we serve, representing a wide range of ages and backgrounds. We recruit on merit. However, we encourage interest from areas where we know we are under-represented.”

So, forget Arlene Phillips. If BBC News truly wants to be representative, it should think about hiring Stewart. They’d get an extremely popular and accomplished performer, who is both ‘older’ and Black. The Beeb can’t go wrong with Moira! Just a shame they sidelined her in the first place…

Lester Holloway

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