Why isn’t our press more diverse?: Lionel Barber

Editor, Financial Times

The British media are not guilty of institutional racism. Whatever their sins and missteps, this is one charge that does not stand up.

The Financial Times, as I suspect is the case with all newsrooms of British newspapers, is committed to employing a diverse workforce. As a global news organisation employing more than 600 journalists (including more than 100 staff foreign correspondents), we have people from all around the world working in our London, Hong Kong and New York newsrooms and elsewhere out in the field.

We need that cosmopolitan, international breadth to make sure we capture cultural and political nuance in places such as Brazil, China, Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan and Thailand. That is how we can be a window on the world, offering informed and independent journalism in print and online to our worldwide audience.

The commitment to diversity however cannot trump the commitment to excellence. We want the best people. Our graduate trainee scheme has been open to anyone around the world. In this respect, the government's restrictive visa policy - while attempting to offer incentives to UK-based organisations to employ British people - is decidedly unhelpful for a global news organisation such as the FT. It is a recipe for closed minds and mediocrity.

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