Why isn’t our press more diverse?: Anwar Tambe

Senior producer, Sky News

When I started out as a journalist on a local newspaper, I wasn't just the only non-white person on the paper, I was the only non-white person in
the whole town. That was more than a quarter of a century ago, in Wolverton - a Buckinghamshire railway town that has now been swallowed up by Milton Keynes.

I can only ever remember one or two other black or Asian reporters from when I worked in Fleet Street - and it was pretty much the same when I moved into television.

Non-white people were not expected to be working in the media. It doesn't happen now, but I recall that a guest once jumped into my Vauxhall Cavalier as I stopped at the gates near the entrance to Sky News. He thought I was the cabbie!

Newsrooms, like our town, are much more diversified now. Yet progress in recruiting professionals from ethnic minorities remains glacial. There are still more black, Asian and Polish faces working in canteens than in newsrooms. And if you want to get on screen or get up the management ladder on a mainstream channel, well, dream on. Media organisations are still run by white, male and middle-class professionals unwilling or unable to look outside and see that the world has changed.

However, it is easy to shout "racism" from the outside. Personally, I have never worked in a newsroom environment where I felt uncomfortable, either with colleagues or in covering stories. If anything, my diversity - as someone who is a practising Muslim, born in Kenya to Indian parents and educated by African, Arab and English teachers - has been truly valued.

This article first appeared in the 16 January 2012 issue of the New Statesman, The battle for Britain