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From the Index: 
Diversity is good for the publishing business  

Our sixth excerpt from the Public Interest News Foundation’s Index of Independent News Publishing 2021. 

  • Only 40% of the workforce in our sample are female, but organisations with a higher proportion of women have higher revenues. 

  • Only 9% of the workforce in our sample are from ethnic minorities; and 70% of publishers have no ethnic minority workers. 

  • 7% of publishers in our survey provide content in more than one language – broadly in line with the percentage of the UK population for whom English is not their main language. 

In order to play its vital democratic role, the news industry needs to represent all groups in society. In some ways, the publishers in our sample reflect the diversity of the UK – for example, 7% provide content in languages such as Welsh and Urdu alongside English. However, 70% of our publishers employ no ethnic minority workers, and only 40% of their workforce is female. 


In our sample, for-profit organisations are almost twice as likely as non-profits to be predominantly male. Organisations with a majority of female workers are more likely to make special efforts to serve diverse audiences, and more likely to have higher revenues



We recommend that policymakers and philanthropists support initiatives that are designed to diversify the independent publishing sector and the news economy as a whole. 



This post is an excerpt from the Public Interest News Foundation’s Index of Independent News Publishing 2021. The Index 2021 is the first in a planned series of annual surveys. We’re keen to hear your feedback, such as suggestions for further research over the years to come. 

Authors: Dr Clare Cook, Dr Jonathan Heawood, Dr Coral Milburn-Curtis and Joe Mitchell.  


With thanks to the 56 publishers who took part in the survey. For more on the survey methodology, please see the full report.

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