Wednesday, January 23The Voice of London

Hearst BAME network “not a box-ticking exercise”

A leading minority rights campaigner at the publisher of Cosmopolitan and Elle believes inclusivity in media is about conversation.

Dionne Maxwell, who works at Hearst Publications UK told Voice of London exclusively about how she set up the BAME or Black, Asian and minority ethnic groups network at the media giant.

She says the network is about education and not pressuring people to increase diversity, but getting them to understand the benefits. As UK celebrated Black History last month – Maxwell, pointed out that a better understanding of Black history is required as “reading African stories or making badges in the library do not constitute as celebrations”.

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Maxwell who grew up in Tottenham, told Voice of London that the year old BAME network is “not a box-ticking exercise” instead something that will generate more networks at Hearst UK to create a long lasting effect on the industry in the coming years. Listen to the full Interview below.

Media organisations have been keen to broaden their representation amid concerns of tokenism, when companies include people of colour for the sake of representation once a year as an obligation.

At Hearst UK, Maxwell adds that it’s not just about changing the diversity in recruitment but also encouraging inclusivity in existing titles all round the year. For when there are people from diverse backgrounds working collectively to increase inclusivity in magazines, they provide food for thought to the readers.

Posts on Hearst’s BAME channels encourage diversity as well as act as a platform to showcase inclusive celebrity coverage in the existing media titles at Hearst namely – Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Bazaar, Elle etc. With talks ranging from internal staff events to broader recruitment invites, social media facilitates as an immediate marketing tool for the company. As Maxwell, continues to create discussions in and out of the workplace, diversity in media remains a challenge.

 

Words, Podcast, Image : Sonakshi Sharma I Subbing: Duha Ali 

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