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White faces on screen

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Tim Levell | 15:22 UK time, Friday, 9 March 2007

Jim-UK was in no doubt what he thought about the colour of faces we show on screen. In a comment posted on an earlier entry on this blog, he wrote: "If Newsround is anything to go by, then there's not one white child in the country."

Newsround logoI promised a reply; but I also promised to give it some time to monitor our output. What seems to be happening certainly throws up some production challenges.

Jim's comments refer largely to the interviews we show with children - "voxes". We film voxes when we want children to give us their opinions on a news story, or if we've gone to report on an event where children are taking part and we ask them what they've been doing. Quite often, this involves going into a school or going on the streets with a camera and microphone.

The challenge is that, while the UK is ethnically diverse, it is diverse in disproportionate quantities. Let's say that we want children to comment on our lead story today -
Louis and Kate leaving X Factor . Our normal production process will be to ring up a school, go in and film the interviews and get them on air in time for our first afternoon bulletin at 4.25pm on the CBBC Channel.

But let's also consider that Britain has an ethnic minority population of 7.9% . The BBC's main production offices are based in urban areas, and we could well end up filming at a school in, say, west London. Chances are that 80% of the children could be from ethnic minorities. So if we were to choose three voxes, you could have two black children and one Asian child.

To counteract this, we very often send a crew to a school in a completely different area of the UK. But then the converse often happens, and we could well film at a primary school with exclusively white faces. It's a poor use of money to send two crews on one story (a camera operator + a someone to ask the questions can cost up to £650 a day). Finding the ideal ethnic balance on each and every story, particularly at short notice, continues to be a challenge.

But should we be aiming for an ideal ethnic balance in any case? Yes and no. To me, the key is that, over time, we have a fair reflection of UK society. I haven't actually counted (maybe I should?), but over the past two months the vast majority of children we have interviewed have been white. Perhaps not as high as 92%, but certainly a majority.

And there is another point to be made. What we are actually interested in is children's views and stories. Does it matter what colour they are? If we have three black kids out of three, what's the difference from having three white kids, especially on a story such as X Factor? It might be different if the story somehow related to ethnicity or their background. On our recent high-profile Unicef story into childhood happiness, for instance, all four voxes were from ethnic minorities, and in retrospect it would have been preferable if we'd found some white children to talk to.

This is a very sensitive issue and I've read and re-read this entry while writing it. To me, the most important thing is that, at any point, a child should be able to watch our output and identify with what they see on screen. Reflecting ethnicity is part of the way of achieving that. But we probably need to work harder to make sure that our day-to-day production requirements don't end up setting the on-screen agenda.

I'm sure you'll have views...

Comments

  • 1.
  • At 07:10 PM on 09 Mar 2007,
  • PeeVeeAh wrote:

"It's a poor use of resources..." Well! There's a value judgement!

The right resources are needed to fund the right demographic capture to realise the balanced view! It is expensive to do! "£650 per day" - but that may be the average cost of the median view! If you are making value judgements based on the data you are collecting on-the-cheap, how can that be extrapolated to have any national relevance? Of course, you might be thinking, 'kids are kids, whatever!', but your budget-driven sampling is certainly not a sound basis for extrapolation....irrespective of the ethnicity distribution!

  • 2.
  • At 07:19 PM on 09 Mar 2007,
  • Richard Morris wrote:

(Yes we have views - but can we express them? something seems to have gone wrong with the software - now very slow).
What these comments by Tim Levell most clearly illustrate is the futility of using 'voxes' as a source of news. Padding , yes - in which case it doesn't matter about ethnic diversity. Perhaps you could run a streamer under each future vox - 'these comments are statistically irrelevant'.

  • 3.
  • At 07:46 PM on 09 Mar 2007,
  • Jared wrote:

Despite all of your prevarication and excuses, the fact remains that you are biased against the native "non-ethnic" population of the country. You yourself admit that you interview minority children in a disproportionate number. The BBC is supposed to serve the whole country, not just the politically popular bits.

Dialect/accent is also an issue: research with children and young people (and adults) in our schools in Swansea has shown that they respond more positively to videos or broadcasts that include a significant number of people who have a Welsh accent (irrespective of their ethnic origin, skin colour etc).


I would personally like to see more ethinic responses since if most interviews are made by the white population then you may as well make a conscientious effort to interiew other ethnic groups.

I also think that that regional accents are important to hear as well.


Actually perhaps a different interviewing technique is required that enables individuals to express who they are as well as have an opinion.

Then this debate would be redundant.

  • 6.
  • At 11:52 PM on 09 Mar 2007,
  • Bruce Jones wrote:

Interesting that the notion of ethnic balance is treated with such cavalier indifference when it comes to the possibility that there may be institutional discrimination against white faces, yet the BBC goes into a neurotic fit when the words "hideously white" are mentioned.

The whole piece shows just how racist the BBC has become towards the indigenous population of the UK. So deeply ingrained is the culture of anti-white discrimination, the author of the piece asks "does it matter?"

Well, I would imagine there would be some opinion on this if roles were reversed and the BBC showed exclusively white faces in their broadcasts.

  • 7.
  • At 03:05 AM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Jim-UK wrote:

Wow I really didn't think I'd hear about this again, now I'll have to stop accusing the BBC of ignoring people.

I saw an edition of Newswatch where the same reason was given for the strangely large percentage of ethnic minority faces on the news in general. If this is the case then fair enough and yes two crews would be a waste of time and money, however living not far from London myself I know there are areas with a more representative mix you could also use.

Unfortunately this kind of thing gives the likes of the BNP ammunition, they tell people we're being overrun and a lot of your output reinforces that message.

I don't think anyone in their right mind would expect the BBC to keep to strict quotas, just being aware that not all viewers live in those areas you tend to broadcast from would be enough. Rightly or wrongly the BBC is getting a reputation for being far too politically correct and this sort of thing really doesn't help. The BBC needs to reconnect with the nation as a whole, not just the areas close to it.

Anything thank you for your reply and the time you've taken to put it together, it's appreciated. My apologies if my reply is a bit all over the place, it's near 3am and it's been a long day.

  • 8.
  • At 07:35 AM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Craig Humphreys wrote:

I'm far more interested in the fact that you considered Louis and Kate leaving the X Factor to be news (especially the lead story).

  • 9.
  • At 10:27 AM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Nigel wrote:

I personally believe that children should be seen but not heard. They only say what they have heard from parents/ teachers anyway so are of absolutely NO interest whatever colour they may be!! So save money and don't send crews to any schools.

  • 10.
  • At 01:00 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Nick Murphy wrote:

What does it matter? The target audience for Newsround is children, not adults. When you're young you don't tend to notice things like race or ethnicity - you have more important things to do and to think about.

Maybe we should stop thinking about this from an adult perspective and instead examine it from how Newsround's audience will see it?

  • 11.
  • At 03:14 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Nick wrote:

Of course this matters. It is a very serious issue.

Most people of my acquaintance are absolutely amazed to learn that the "ethnic" population of Britain is less than 8%. The impression given by TV - Newsround and others - is that the proportion of "ethnic minorities" in the population is much higher. This misunderstanding is very damaging - far from breeding racial harmony, it frightens the white majority and assists the extreme parties like the BNP. Whether people should react like this is irrelevant - they do.

You have a duty to get this portrayal right - and if you can't afford to do so, then drop the voxes altogether.

  • 12.
  • At 03:28 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Chris wrote:

Does it actually matter what colour the kids are? I'm astonished someone has monitored this; I wonder if Kim-UK's made a tally of all the presenters on the BBC to ensure they fit the demographic...!

  • 13.
  • At 04:00 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Michael wrote:

The way I see this is a further marginalisation of the majority population of the country. Children pick up on what they see on TV if all they are seeing is ethnic faces white children will think their own views are of no consequence. Result we have a even larger growth in non-political participation as the current generation grow older, we have increased distrust of minorities as it seems only their voices can be heard. Thank you BBC for encouraging segregation and resentment all be it in a politically correct manner.

  • 14.
  • At 04:24 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Stephen Stillwell wrote:

The colour of the child does make a difference - even when talking about a television reality show. This was brought home to me when I gave a test in a class I was teaching on world civilization - to first year college students in the United States. When asked the following question: Who was the "Material Girl" of the late 1980s? A) Madonna, B) Princess Diana, C) Margaret Thatcher, or D) Demi Moore. All of the black males in class responded C. No white or Asian student got the question wrong. The black females were split.

  • 15.
  • At 04:29 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Mark Smith wrote:

It's not just Newsround that disproportionately represents non-white children. BBC Breakfast does it as well. And this is why surveys have found astonishing things such as large numbers of British people believing that around 40% of the population is non-white. Your programmes give an utterly false, inflated picture of Britain's ethnic population and then you wonder why people get so concerned about immigration levels!

  • 16.
  • At 04:29 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • annie-uk wrote:

Does it matter what colour they are?

Yes, it matters, very much so, because your youger viewers look to TV for positive role models with whom they can find resonance.

The X-factor is not 'political'? The CRE begs to differ:

https://www.cre.gov.uk/Default.aspx.LocID-0hgnew0kg.RefLocID-0hg01b00100600g001.Lang-EN.htm

Its good that you explain your reasoning and to accept that you have an inbuilt systematic bias. This is almost being open and honest - well done.

The question I think you should ask yourself is would this situation be acceptable in 99% of the children interviewed were from one racial group, say white ?

Why not just go that small step further - admit you were wrong and do the right thing ?

  • 18.
  • At 04:51 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Charlie wrote:

Why on earth is X-factor even a story on Newsround? Did nothing else happen anywhere in the world that might have been worth explaining to children? If this is what children are growing up thinking is "news" the future is pretty bleak.

  • 19.
  • At 04:54 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • adrian wrote:

"Finding the ideal ethnic balance on each and every story, particularly at short notice, continues to be a challenge."

What nonsense, why is this complicated?? As you say, 7% of people are non white, so about once every 10 shows, go to the mostly ethnic school in West London, the rest of the time go, somewhere else.
No need for 2 camera crews.

  • 20.
  • At 04:57 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Alex wrote:

Does Newsround have to rely on its own staff to produce these voxes? I'm wondering whether it would be possible to take advantage of the BBC's local news teams to get some school-side interviews. You could get the BBC Yorkshire team to talk to some children one day, and then do it in London the next.

Even if the BBC's structure would make this awkward, I suggest it's worth pursuing - because quite possibly, taking advantage of the BBC's other resources (and the 'adult' news network in particular) would save money as well as making your voxes more representative.

This all just shows that voxes are pretty useless. I mean when do people who are stopped in the street and asked leading questions really give deep, insightful and enlightening comments about serious issues?

And so much news is so trivial as well. Louis and Kate leaving X-Factor? Stop the presses! We need some kidz views on this!!! Forget the real and serious problems that people face in Britain and the rest of the world - let's see what an ethnically proportionate group of kidz think about the X-Factor!

  • 22.
  • At 05:12 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Joe wrote:

I appreciate the time you have taken to respond, but this is really only an issue for those viewers who use those immortal words 'I'm not a racist but...'

  • 23.
  • At 05:23 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Herbert G. wrote:

If you pay £650 for one day's work from 2 not very highly trained people, that's £3,250 per week or about £162,500 per year. You could employ 3 professors or 6 university lecturers (with Ph.D.s) for that amount. Is this BBC money-wasting tendency part of John Birt's legacy?

  • 24.
  • At 05:31 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • rachael wrote:

hey
im a teenager, the same age as what the bbc interview for newsround, i know that some people "personally believe that children should be seen but not heard" but im going to say my point anyways. i think that it is important that the country hears the views of the youth, because face it we are the future and this is our home too. plus news round is for kids so why would we want to sit and hear the views of adults? we can watch the normal news for that!
i think that some people are getting too worked up by the issue. i mean i do feel very passionately about how our country and the growth of ethnic minority, but like it says the bbc is here to provide news and television. they do that very well, even if it is that one day they go to a school full of white kids and a school full of different cultured kids the next. i know some people feel that because they do this that something is going wrong with out country, but why is it?! i mean it would be a waste of money like it says to be sending out goodness knows how many tv crews just to please the nation, and you adults, when its a kids news program. it would be a waste of money that could be used for other things.
sorry if ive appeared rude or politically wrong and sorry for going on and on! but see teenagers have views too and theyre important! :)

  • 25.
  • At 05:38 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

I'm surprised that this observation was allowed to be published, given the current hoo-ha about race relations. But it has, and congratulations to the BBC for taking it seriously.
Jim-UK has raised a very valid point, and one which I have also observed but was afraid to raise. It is very rare on London based BBC, or indeed our own Central region, to see many non-ethnic people in schools that are shown on the TV. This also goes for the camera-facing personnel, where ethnic staff make up much more than their fair share. Discrimination, whether negative OR positive, is wrong, and just as employers are bound by law to ensure a reasonable mix of employees I believe the TV stations should also do their bit to show a reasonable mix of people.

  • 26.
  • At 05:39 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • SJ wrote:

I thought the BBC had regional offices for exactly this reason. Surely BBC London can call up BBC Bristol (say) and ask it to go to a local Bristol school to film some comments. Isn't this national reach and presence one of the things we pay the licence fee for? BBC London might realise through this process that lots of the regions couldn't give a stuff about some of the things they are covering, like the X-factor.

  • 27.
  • At 05:43 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Timothy Simon Wood wrote:

As long as what colour the face of a person being interviewed is an issue, then we know racism is still an issue.

Surely we can be at ease enough with the multi-ethnicity of this country to not have to count how many groups have been represented. When we feel able to just take a random sample we can prove that we have begun to conquer racism.

This debate perpetuates the ethnic conflict that exists. Grow up and just listen to what the kids have to say. If you're not interested then why are you watching Newsround or commenting on an issue about a children's TV show.

  • 28.
  • At 05:46 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Katie wrote:

Being of the teenage generation and reading this about what I am viewing on television, actually makes me laugh. Who is watching newsround and thinking about the ethnic background of that child? We're all equal, so what does it matter who is interviewed, all opinions are valued, black or white.
Surely if they did make an ethnic balance, we wouldn't be then thinking about all the different views of different children, but about which ethnic group thinks what.
Another point is I'm mixed race, but many people mistake me as white, so if I was interviewed many people would mistake it me as a "white child" when they are actually wrong. When does all this madness on race stop? Personally I'm tired of it

  • 29.
  • At 05:54 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • M wrote:

Can you examine the implications of the BBC filtering out black and Asian talent from senior positions over the past 30 years?

  • 30.
  • At 06:00 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Roger Carr wrote:

All good stuff no doubt.

But the easy way to avoid a problem is to not create it in the first place. Don't do vox. The Daily Express probably does uses it and it is open to any accusation of inaccurate representation (remember Yes Minister – the answer you what defines the question you ask)

I always assume (and I am not alone) that a vox (whether children or adults) is a substitute for a proper story and quantitifiable research and a waste of the airtime (which I pay for.....) and therefore discount it in my assessment of the information your story supplies.

How often do you use them on Newsnight?

How often do you use them on local TV?


  • 31.
  • At 06:01 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Michelle Readman wrote:

The story here isn't the ethnic diversity of news broadcasts, but that some people still seem to think that it matters one way or another.

  • 32.
  • At 06:01 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Graham wrote:

What I found most interesting from this post was the admission that the BBC's output is overwhelmingly biased, not in favour of ethnic minorities, but in favour of the south-east of England. Time and time again, stories that wouldn't have made it onto a bulletin if they had happened in Scotland lead the 10 o'clock news because they happened in London. Is any editor prepared to look into this, I wonder?

  • 33.
  • At 06:10 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Meg wrote:

How much can an advance phone call cost to a school to find out if it has a representative mix of ethnicities????
if you did this, all these problems and accusations could be avoided, as all reports would be representative of the population as a whole.... Seems an obvious solution to me!

  • 34.
  • At 06:11 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Kaz wrote:

Holy cow.

The man points out that the vast majority of kids interviewed over time are white, and accusations of racism against white people are bandied about on the basis that there aren't enough white faces on the programme.

Given that Britain has a white "indigenous" population outnumbering both white and non-white ethnic minorities by 10:1, I hardly think the average white child is going without access to people who look like them.

  • 35.
  • At 06:12 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Emily wrote:

The children you interview should reflect the society we live in. So there should be overall 92% of white kids interviewed. It would be madness to expect that on each set of interviews individually, but over a year it should work out that way!

Also, what's wrong with all the kids being white? If you're interviewing 10, then 1 should be of an ethnic minority. If you aren't chances are most of the time they will be white.

  • 36.
  • At 06:15 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Ciaran wrote:

Nigel - The target audience of Newsround is children so it needs to depict children. Whether you value a child's (possibly) adult skewed opinion is irrelevant.

Early exposure to different cultures can never be a bad thing for a child. I find it hard to believe that a child will be "damaged" in any way by not seeing "kids like me" on Newsround in exactly the right proportion to the population as a whole.

  • 37.
  • At 06:15 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Rayya Ghul wrote:

How I long to live in a country where the colour of your skin is utterly irrelevant. Unless the topic is particularly to do with ethnic origin, who cares what colour the skin of the particular human being being interviewed might be? Only people (of any colour)who discriminate care. Just stop it and see people as people.

  • 38.
  • At 06:19 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • towcestarian wrote:

Maybe if the BBC wasn't so hideously urban this wouldn't be a problem. Its about time you townies were rusticated.

  • 39.
  • At 06:24 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Viewer wrote:

1st point: As you are being questioned about the ethnic mix, yes, you should go and count how many times who appears where and when.

2nd point: Why do you need 2 film crews to find English children who are not part of an ethnic minority? Surely they live in London too?

3rd point: Why the ethnic mix is important. It is important because an accurate reflection of the nation is important and is what the media provides. The media holds a mirror up to society.

It was a problem in the past when that reflection showed none of the ethnic diversity of the nation and/or showed it in an unrealistic and wholly negative light when it did show it at all.

It is a problem now when the ethnic diversity is the only thing being reflected and the reality of the nation is again distorted.

As editor, your job is to sort it out.

Good luck.

  • 40.
  • At 06:36 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Michael UK wrote:

Tim, you look like and sound like some naive schoolboy who doesn't want to upset his mum. Have you any experience of people and life other than from within the confines of university life. We all know that the BBC has become so pc that it will do nothing to upset the government's wishes, after all this pc brainwashing has come from the BBC's employers - Blair and his cohorts under the guise of the Government's name. For Gods sake man, get a backbone. Your excuse for showing predominately black faces is laughable. The BBC is supposed to be impartial - I do not think that your Newsround interviews with school children could possibly be decribed as such. You seem to be so out of touch with mainstream British society, of course you should show more white faces. the reason is obvious in this white country and I'm going by your figure of just over 92% non black. There must be plenty of schools even in London with a more representative ethnic mix and it wouldn't break your budget finding them. For goodness sake Tim, either do your job properly or put in your resignation. I suppose by writing this I will be labelled a racist and a bigot by the pc brigade instead of just someone with a normal point of view.

Craig and Nigel - Newsround is a CBBC programme. That first C, stands for children. So things like the X Factor and the opinions of other children are relevant.

The percentage of kids of ethnic origins featured is of no more consequence than the percentage of kids with glasses or the percentage of kids with short hair, or anything else, unless the news item is actually about ethnicity/opticians/haircuts/whatever.

  • 42.
  • At 06:55 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Clive wrote:

I kind of sympathise with the BBC on this point. I've worked in an educational scenario producing magazines and newsletters - I was once asked (when applying for my own job!?) what my attitudes were towards producing a positive image of ethnic minorities in the publications we produced.

I think I shocked the interviewers a little by simply stating that my policy was just to use the best picture (ie we were discussing which picture I would use for a cover) - that meant that I wasn't really taking a view on the people in the picture one way or another.

After some discussion I think we came around to agreeing that this was acceptable - and no one ever tried to overrule me on this issue. So, it could be, for example, that the children in the images may be predominantly black in one issue, and white in another. But that was down to the quality/quantity of images supplied - and we didn't have a budget to source our own images, it was down to what teachers sent in.

So I can understand that what gets shown on TV is the best of what they filmed, rather than some kind of positive discrimination.

Having said that, there does seem to be a certain amount of laziness on behalf of the BBC. You can't really claim that being on London (or other urban area) means that the children interviewed are majority ethnic minorities, because that simply isn't true. If you go to certain schools in Southall or Tower Hamlets, it may be correct, but it's not going to be the same if you go to Chiswick or perhaps Enfield.

I tend to agree with the person above also, that you need to show opinions from across the UK, including Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales - the BBC has regional news centres and the resources to be able to do this.

  • 43.
  • At 07:18 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • James H wrote:

Certainly it appears from what you say that race is not the real issue. However it is implicit in what you write that the skewed racial balance is a marker for another kind of bias - one towards cities, in particular London. While it is understandable for practical reasons, it is not a fair representation of the country that the BBC purports to represent. The 'Urban areas' you refer to appear not to include many small and medium-sized towns who are under-represented across our London- and city-centric media.

Bravo Craig and Tim. Craig, for pointing out that the BBC caters for the lowest common denominator by promulgating non-news stories (as if X-factor has any news content at all!). Tim, because you have exposed how little thought is placed on wider editorial issues, other than, "We need kids now! Which school down the road can we blag?". Tim, If you are going to tick boxes ("got children, check") then please get a job on the railways but stop having any kind of influence on our young people.

  • 45.
  • At 07:31 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Sophia in Scotland wrote:

So I see the BNP are complaining once again that "non-ethnics" (what on earth does that mean anyway?) are under-represented on BBC shows, just because they've counted the numbers of paleskinned kids shown on Newsround and feel that the proportion is less than 92%.
I see very few bespectacled, freckled, brunette, middle-aged Scottish women featured on BBC shows. Should I complain about being discrimonated against?

  • 46.
  • At 07:34 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Ewan Mac Mahon wrote:

If you want to know if it matters, try this experiment - stop sending your crews to predominantly non-white areas, and send them to predominantly white ones instead, so that most or all of the interviewees are white children.

Then ask yourself if you feel comfortable with that - if you do, keep doing it, if you don't, then you know colour matters and you need to ensure a fair balance.

  • 47.
  • At 07:38 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Matthew Preston wrote:

Does it matter? Well, as you said, if the story is about an ethnicity related issue, yes. As far as stories about X Factor are concerned for me the answer is (a resounding) no.

I guess you have to ensure that you don't always go to the same school, or part of the country, but other than that any method of selecting to ensure the 'correct mix' of ethnicities is manipulative and racist: whether it is selecting for more 'non-indigenous people' (as Bruce Jones suggests happens) or for more regional accents.

What is important is that the BBC reflects the full range of opinions and interests of the whole UK population in its output and does not get hung up on the colour of a child's (or anyone else's) skin, or the sound of their voice, before listening to what they have to say.

  • 48.
  • At 07:44 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Ed Norris wrote:

Well I appreciated the care that was taken with this considered response. Its a good antidote to some of the hysteria that seems to surround race issues lately to actually consider the issues without dragging colour into it. This is what the author was at pains to do and I think he made a good job of it. I am disappointed by the reactions to this article. A genuine debate about ethnic representation is always welcome but let's all calm down so that the varying points of views can actually be considered.

  • 49.
  • At 08:27 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Steve B wrote:

Thanks for an honest and insightful entry here Tim. It's so easy to shout "liberal bias" and "political correctness", but I'm under no doubt that your intentions and those of the BBC are genuinely to be as fair and inclusive as possible, even if there's a danger of unwittingly slipping into being "over-inclusive" in the process. If that's the BBC's bias, well, as a white man myself, there are far worse biases in society facing that 7.9% ethnic population that I prefer to speak out about before I get to the "poor persecuted under-represented white man". And frankly, how sad that some people choose to make the most noise about this one.

The notion that the BBC has "a racist agenda against the indigenous population" is of course utter nonsense - a paranoid outlook frequently being perpetuated by the right-wing tabloids, and one that almost appears to be driven by a childish sense of competing for victim status - though that will never be admitted of course. Anyone who honestly believes the BBC is acting from some anti-white racist angle is just believing what they want to believe.

Sure, I can well believe there could be something of an inbalance in how often the BBC ends up presenting that 7.9% of the population (ie. disproportionately), and particularly if you're the kind of viewer who doesn't normally see any non-white faces on your walk down the shop to pick up your Daily Mail. But as a white licence-paying man myself, you know what? I can live with it. It's just not a big problem. White faces are the norm in so much of how everyday life is presented to us, white people wield such power anyway, disproportionate in the opposite direction. Frankly, I really don't mind if, in your drive to be as inclusive as possible (or even in your desire to cut costs), we end up seeing more than 7.9% non-white faces.

  • 50.
  • At 08:57 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Tim W wrote:

I don't quite see how the colour of a child's skin reflects on their views on reality TV? This is a complete non-debate, unfortunately the BBC is tying itself up in knots over something that is entirely irrelevant. If every face on Newsround was white or every face was black, it would make no difference to the vast majority of stories they broadcast. I can just about understand if the story was something to do with ethinicity or race, then it would be good to have a range of different children from different backgrounds. But unless you claim the BBC is deliberately choosing ethinic minorities, the colour of the face on your screen is essentially random, and therefore irrelevant to their output.

  • 51.
  • At 09:14 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • John Dillon wrote:

I think its funny that people are complaining that there are not enought "white faces" on TV.

As an ethnic minority member Im used to be the fact that shows like Eastenders, Coronation Street etc have a huge white cast. US shows are even worse with the likes of Battlestar Gallactica etc barely having any "token" cast members.

To be honest, Im sick of this, cant we look beyond colour. To everyone on both sides that are still complaining about this, get over it and move on, there are more things that unite us than divide us.

The hypocricy of criticising Newsround for not having enough white faces is astonishing.

The people angry at Newsround are the same people who would scream 'political correctness gone mad' if someone were to say there were not enough ethnic minorities on screen.

  • 53.
  • At 10:18 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Frank E Mattimoe wrote:

£650 a day for 2 people, neither of whom requires significant, complex or expensive training!

I don't know if the BBC is racially skewed but, on this evidence, it certainly doesn't appear to have to function in the same financial galaxy as the vast majority of its viewers and listeners

  • 54.
  • At 10:20 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • CAM wrote:

You say To me, the most important thing is that, at any point, a child should be able to watch our output and identify with what they see on screen.
My daughter called me the other day to watch a repeat of the item you mention on CBBC about childhood happiness. A black presenter interviewed 4 children, all black or asian on a topic. They then cut to Holland to get the views of Dutch children and spoke to another 4 black children from Holland. Which rather gives the lie to the suggestion that it's too expensive to travel far from multicultural west London.
My daughter tells me that she did not identify at all with the children shown.
Adults can expound on the advantages of the multicultural regime we live under until the cows come home, but children are not stupid and have opinions of their own. If they don't like what they see they won't be persuaded.

  • 55.
  • At 10:33 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Bos wrote:

The lead story? Media incest! Who cares about the story if the media don't hype it?
Apropos the ethnic mix. It's important to recognise that a child from London is not representative in any meaningful way of any other children. His or her opinion is of no universal significance - even if you do take a huge sample of three children. Undoubtedly the ones chosen to be given air space are those which appeal in some way to the reporter and editor.

  • 56.
  • At 10:52 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Daniel Bateman wrote:

"Nigel wrote:

I personally believe that children should be seen but not heard. They only say what they have heard from parents/ teachers anyway so are of absolutely NO interest whatever colour they may be!! So save money and don't send crews to any schools."

Nice to know there are some people out there not afraid to show they stereotype all children. I have never spoken to my parents or teachers about politics, and very rearly to my parents about the news, but I log onto BBC News, (not Newsround), daily, and i do follow politics - (and, for the record, I find it funny how those who criticised Tony Blair now say they're going to miss him).

Anyway. My point is, we do have our own opinions. The things not to show are those few children who make gun gestures behind peoples backs... *hint, hint*.

Personally, being white, I don't care if you pick 3 black kids... as long as they aren't the type of kids, (note: not the type of black kids, white kids to it too), that are, basically, chavs - as long as they are opinionated. Some kids may not follow news stories etc... for more important issues, it may be better for you to ask the school for some more achieving students... trust me, they are more likely to know what you are talking about... for stories about the X Factor etc, pick anyone.. I, personally have never watched it!


Regards,
Daniel,
15,
Enfield.

  • 57.
  • At 10:57 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Sam wrote:

And then, Nigel, the children wouldn't be able to relate or engage in the News they are watching (on a CHILDREN's News Program) and they will stop watching. They will stop learning about important political, economic, scientific and moral issues and news and they will become less knowledgeable and well-rounded people. They will then grow up to believe in nonsense like "Children should be seen and not heard" or "The BBC deliberately positively discriminate by showing more ethnic minority children in interview or voxes".

  • 58.
  • At 11:03 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Alan Belmore wrote:

Why on earth does it matter whether who you interview are white kids or black kids? Perhaps if we stopped creating a society where people are put into boxes and separated then we wouldn't see many problems we see today.

We would never complain because the BBC shows too many tall children, too many fat children or too many blond haired children. I think it's an outrage that in this day and age their race is still an issue.

  • 59.
  • At 11:18 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Graham Thomson wrote:

ethnic minorities be damned,if the kid is british he,or she is british.I only wish in this pc world we could remember that there is no difference in people but that which we make ourselves

  • 60.
  • At 11:21 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • Ruaraidh Gillies wrote:

I would have thought, as Newsround is a news programme targeted at children, that the majority of correspondents here probably haven't seen an edition of it since they left school years ago!!

If a camera crew interviews, say, 20 children at the school in question for their story, the editor should be allowed to pick the best 3 or 4 for transmission, and not worry about exhibiting a balanced ethnic diversity. I'd be surprised if any of Newsround's "core audience" are sitting there getting all hot under the collar at the atypical balance of transmitted comments!!!

  • 61.
  • At 11:36 PM on 10 Mar 2007,
  • jmt wrote:

So, it's not about skin colour, but only city kids' opinions matter...

  • 62.
  • At 12:20 AM on 11 Mar 2007,
  • Ian wrote:

I do not think that a spectrum of race and a spectrum of opinion are the same. Surely the point of your voxes is to show a spectrum of opinion. Race should be irrelevant.

  • 63.
  • At 12:36 AM on 11 Mar 2007,
  • James wrote:

This post seems to ignore an extremely intuitive (and perfectly true) statistical fact that if you make choices of children totally at random, they will over time perfectly represent the ethnic diversity of the country.

e.g. if 5% of the country is black then the probability of a random child being black is 5% and in the long run 5% of children chosen for "voxes" will be black.

There's absolutely no need to screen the ethnicity of the children, if they are truly chosen with no regard to their skin colour they will represent the country with no effort from anyone.

The sentence "Perhaps not as high as 92%, but certainly a majority." worries me. Using the above (made up by me) statistic of there being a 5% black minority, what would people say if you claimed "Perhaps not as high as 5%, but 3% isn't bad"?

  • 64.
  • At 12:40 AM on 11 Mar 2007,
  • Ryan wrote:

If you use a certain number of these 'voxes' from schools with up to an 80% different ethnicity to white but still want to represent the views of the UK, then why not take say, three white children and a child of a different ethnic background than just grabbing the first four that walk past?


Regardless of who might happen to be there at the time, selecting a (semi) proportionate number of ethnicities wouldn't be much effort and that would better represent the views of the country.

  • 65.
  • At 12:58 AM on 11 Mar 2007,
  • Simon wrote:

It's sad that so many adult (I presume) posters are getting so upset about the ethnicity of children on a children's TV programme. What sort of example are we setting for our young people by teaching them that the colour of their skin is an issue to get ourselves vexed over?

You are asking the wrong people!

I watch my kids watching Newsround, Blue Peter, Basil Brush, and they don't even notice colour, creed, accent.

And that is how it should be. You shouldn't have to worry about whom you film, because we, whatever ethnic background we come from, shouldn't even notice.

I am not "Tollerant", I don't think race, creed, or culture should be an issue at all.

Yeah, I know, silly idealist!

  • 67.
  • At 01:08 AM on 11 Mar 2007,
  • David Grant wrote:

The ethnic mix of the children does not matter, unless the story on which opinions are being sought is something that will be influenced by ethnic background. Just as it does not matter whether they are rich or poor, or male or female, unless it is going to shape their opinion on the story.

It always astounds me when I see or hear something going on about white people being discriminated against. Or against the indigineous population! Britain has a unique multi cultural society where people from many different cultures live. Even when you talk of the native people we have the english, scots, welsh, and irish. I have always thought that because Britain itself is made up of four cultures that is why our society has been able to, by and large, accept people from other enthinicites and cultures.

I worry that in a climate of fear over immigration and integration this might change. Accusing the BBC of being racist or biased against the native population is to miss the point entirely: everyone who was born here or who has become a citizen is British - irrespective of their ethnic background, religion, or anything else.

  • 68.
  • At 01:14 AM on 11 Mar 2007,
  • Mark Wraith wrote:

Maybe the problem is that the BBC report a disproportionate amount of news from London.

The BBC pride themselves in having the resources to report news from countries around the globe, yet apparently don't have the funds to bother sending reporters outside of London for UK news.

Let's face it, if there is bad weather in the north of the UK it might just get reported as a story saying that the north is suffering bad weather. If there is bad weather in central London then the BBC will run a report saying that the whole of the UK is in complete turmoil because of bad weather, even if it is only affecting about 10% of the country!

  • 69.
  • At 01:48 AM on 11 Mar 2007,
  • John Smith wrote:

I have to wonder about the people who are bringing this up, perhaps they have an agenda of their own.

These are children, their views are not shaped by the colour of their skin, but by their socio-economic background and parental value system.

Skin colour only matters when people make it matter - it is those who see soceity as inheritently racial that bring this up.

We and our children, are affected by much more complicated stimulae (class, religion etc) then by skin colour.

An interesting post into the mechanics and challenges of your job.
The problem seems to be not one of race, but of accurately sampling the UK's child population for a UK show, when budget holds you to just nipping round the corner in West London.
A suggestion (which I'm sure has been debated already) - Pick a number of schools to represent a true demographic of the UK. Install semi-permanent studios in each of these schools. Sacrifice a little broadcast picture quality for low-cost, ease of use. We're used to seeing mobile-phone quality video from correspondents in war-zones... what's the difference!
How would the cost compare - set up, training for staff/pupils, operation - against sending crews out daily?
Advantages include giving pupils insight and training in TV production, disadvantages would be accusations that only rich schools could afford the time/training to work them - but there's surely ways around that. Competitions to win host-school status every term/school year is really going to engage the school population in your work. And if budget allowed the mini-studios to be permanent, over time you're building up a fantastic Vox resource without even loading up the van.

  • 71.
  • At 03:16 AM on 11 Mar 2007,
  • Nikhil Katiyar wrote:

Judging by the severity of some of the responses Mr Levell was certainly right about one thing; the sensitive nature of the issue. It is sad that this is seen as a "sensitive" issue.

People clearly feel that they cannot say what they really feel about the issue (or non-issue depending on your perspective) anymore. People are frustrated and are, as a result, communicating poorly. It reduces our collective abilities to talk about the issue in a clear and logical manner.

Dialogue, Understanding and an ability to expand one's own frame of reference is required. It is always required. The natural tendency is to generate one's own hypothesis to understand the complexities of our context. It is the human condition.

So first, surely, we must thank Jim-UK and Tim Levell for starting this process off.

Second, we must value and address everyone's hypotheses however, visceral ones' initial reaction might be.

A number of comments have been made:

1/ Regard the basic methodological limitations and thus ramifications for the conclusions that can be drawn from newsrounds' "data". It isn't data and it shouldn't be treated as such. If trying to extrapolate anything much caution must be borne in the "voxes" interpretation. There are advocates for a change in medium away from the "vox".

Our children are the next generation. It is vitally important to talk to them, foster the expansion of their frames of reference, to value their ideas and, of course (Nigel) to hear them! The medium is not perfect but I would like to thank the BBC for their hard work in trying.


2/ Regard the importance of reducing the London-centric nature of news reporting by the BBC and the need to serve all of Britain's citizens. This feeling of disenchantment in Britain is more important to address than the race issue as it drives to the very heart of the problem we have in British society today. I personally conceptualise it as a lack of "social capital" (using Lord Putnam's definition). In other words were simply not talking to each other as much as we used to and therefore do not care for and understand each other. I believe that this is more to do with the ever ongoing progress of post-modernism; decline of our manufacturing industry; capitalism .etc than it is to do with migrants or people of colour. The Internet (like this blog) is providing new ways for us to connect with each other that we are lacking in real life.

Essentially, and quite rightly, people are unhappy and frustrated because they feel that there is a decline of the old support structures that there used to be in society and there is little or nothing to replace it.

It is far from London and the southeast that this support is in gravest decline. We look to the BBC to tell all our stories and represent us; our views; our fears; our joys. The BBC and other benevolent stakeholders civil society in Britain needs to readdress this balance. When the state and market forces fail us whom can we look to but each other (i.e. Civil society)?

We all must increase our civic participation in whatever way we can. We must foster dialogue. If we can increase our social capital, the "sensitivity" of the race issue will disappear. We will no longer blame migrants for what is a long-term decline in modern society. Children are vital in any attempts to foster new ideas/participation because they are often the only citizens that we can all agree are important.

Anyway, it’s late now and I'm tired. I'm sure you're tired of reading if you bothered at all. I wish all of you all the best. I agreed with all your comments to some extent and degree. Apologies to any that I offended or to any concerns you felt are more important to address.

I'm a 27-yr old immigrant's son, idealistic, brown and an NHS doctor. You'll just have to pardon me for my enthusiasm but I think we can improve everyone's lot. The BBC need to look at decentralizing their operations more (I think they're trying). We all need to communicate properly and start looking after each other.

  • 72.
  • At 09:23 AM on 11 Mar 2007,
  • Imran Shirvanee wrote:

One basic journalistic principle, (and I wonder if journalism is any relevant to BBC, going by what the Tim Levell said): you talk to the people who are relevant to the story. If you think the relevance of the story is irrespective of their so-called race, then you have done justice to your story. Otherwise, £650 should not come in your way of collecting any number of relevant facts. As long as they are important for the story.

  • 73.
  • At 09:37 AM on 11 Mar 2007,
  • Izzy wrote:

"the most important thing is that, at any point, a child should be able to watch our output and identify with what they see on screen"

I don't think race is a significant part of how kids think. Children identify with other children, no matter what colour they are. Take kids on holiday or to a swingpark, and see how they play with each other without giving race, colour or language a thought.

When I was young, I can't remember even noticing that some of my playmates were of different races. Now that I'm a bit older and non-stories about race are in my face all the time, I can think about little else. Let's give today's kids a break from all this.

  • 74.
  • At 04:32 PM on 11 Mar 2007,
  • Taff wrote:

Im not sure why this person was pre-occupied with colour on a children's TV programme. That said, I think its a fair point. In my view, the problem is the BBC is predominantly focused on England instead of the UK as a whole. If stastics were looked at, the percentage of ethnic minorities in England is probably as high as 20% especially in major cities. However, in other parts like Wales, N.Ireland, Scotland and the british islands. I have lived in both England and Scotland, and have visited other parts of the UK as well and this has been my observation. If the BBC started showing more from other parts of the UK, the figures would sort themselves out.

  • 75.
  • At 05:13 PM on 11 Mar 2007,
  • vasiily wrote:

"£650 a day for 2 people, neither of whom requires significant, complex or expensive training!"

Ha trust me camera operators train for years. The very ideas that it requires no complex training. How would you like all Newsround films to come back with the equivalent of a BOOTS sticker on it - "this picture is out of focus, the lights is bad or perhaps you are just an amatuer". Camera operators are highly skilled nd frankly 650 is a bargain - some camera operators workk for 1000 a day. That's not BBC rates - that's the GOING rate all a round the world.


  • 76.
  • At 08:35 AM on 12 Mar 2007,
  • David wrote:

If I chose to live in Africa or India I would expect 90+% of kids interveiwed on similar programmes to be black or asian repectively. If you go to these places that is exactly what you will find. Britain is a European country.

I want my kids to feel included by the shows they see on kids' tv and have their culture and heritage explained and celebrated in the shows they watch. One of the things they need to understand is who they are and where they fit in the world.

When you take this Newsround discussion along with the massive overrepresentation of ethnic minorities amongst presenters across BBC children's television, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the BBC is pushing a political multicultural agenda on our children.

  • 77.
  • At 09:27 AM on 12 Mar 2007,
  • Rockingham wrote:

As Newsround is a programme for kids, the editorial approach should be sympathetic to how children see the world.

Research (and every day experience) shows that children attach very little importance to skin colour, and only learn racist attitudes from their parents and their immediate society. The approach taken by the editors, while sensitive, seems to be a little too much so. Tying yourself in knots so as not to 'offend' any one, is generally counterproductive as there will always be someone who takes offence.

Go out, get children's views, and show the most germane. The colour of the child's skin should be low on your list of critertia.

  • 78.
  • At 10:38 AM on 12 Mar 2007,
  • magic dave wrote:

It's sad that still you can't just pick 10 random people and listen to what they say irrespective of skin colour. Do kids really care?

Hi – thank you for such an interesting and helpful debate. I wrote the following reply when the first 50-odd comments had been published; the subsequent comments pick up similar themes so I haven't responded in detail to them. But I will do if other key issues emerge.

To many commenters: I do not think that white children's voices should be "marginalised", and really the main point of this entry was to discuss what we are doing to make sure that that doesn't happen. I made precisely that point in my entry when I talked about our coverage of the Unicef report (and Cam, comment 54, this is the report I wrote about above, when I said I regretted that we hadn't found white children to talk to).

For instance, Michael's generalisation (comment 18 – if "all they are seeing is ethnic faces") is unhelpful. They don't see only "ethnic faces" and it's not helpful to suggest so. But it's also not helpful to suggest we should aim for 100% white faces. The debate should most usefully focus on the extent to which ethnic minority faces should appear on screen. Adrian (19), for instance – that's a sensible solution.

Some other points I'd like to pick up on:

PeeVeeAh (1) – TV is expensive and I wanted to demonstrate that; we can't just throw money at a problem. Herbert G (23) recognises this. We have to recognise what the challenges are, and work out other cleverer solutions. (For instance, when we know a story is coming up, we can do voxes when we are on another shoot.)

Richard Morris (2), Matthew (21), Roger (30) – Yes, voxes are statistically irrelevant, but they are good ways of bringing different viewpoints to life. We should never suggest that "all children think this" because a vox might suggest one outcome. If we do that, bad us.

Mark Campion (4) – yes, we need broader representation of national/regional accents too.

Craig Humphreys (8) and Charlie (18) – I rather cheekily slotted in the fact that our lead story was about the X Factor judges changing, and wondered who would pick up on it…!

Nick Murphy (10), Michelle (31), Rayya (37) – I agree that this is one of the core points: that children don't notice race in the same way that adults do. This is exactly what Rachael (24) and Katie (28) - both teenagers - say.

Alex (20) and SJ (26) – yes we do commission BBC local news teams to do voxes for us – today for instance we have voxes being filmed in Glasgow around the Cricket World Cup. But we could do more of this.

Towcestarian (38) – I think you're right and this is a lot of the issue here: the difficulties the BBC has getting out of urban areas, wherever that might be in the UK.

Kaz (34) – you talk a lot of sense! Viewer (39) – I take on the challenge. Michael UK (40) – this isn't an "excuse" – I'm discussing the challenges; I don't think you're a bigot (though you don't have a great line in complimentary prose!) but the points you raise are exactly what we need to get right.

Clive (42) – a very thoughtful comment, thank you.

Oh, and Nigel (9) – fortunately people have already responded to you, so I don't think I need to...


  • 80.
  • At 03:32 PM on 12 Mar 2007,
  • Ell Peters wrote:

Positive discrimination at its best!! Why doesn't Newsround have a token white??

Also, I hope they don't teach maths on Newsround!! If 80% are from an "ethnic minority" surely you could just interview someone from the other 20%? To add to this, how can 80% be a minority?

Or maybe that is just another issue!!

  • 81.
  • At 03:50 PM on 12 Mar 2007,
  • Sam wrote:

I actually think Nigel 9 is absolutely right children should be seen and not heard.

All children do is parrot what there parents say. And as i work in a school i think i am more qualified than most to hold that opinion.

In our PC society we spend far too much time listening to childrens 'views' and talking about there 'rights' they have no responsibilities they have no experience of life and so there opinion is totally worthless.

Its this PC attitude of thinking childrens opinions hold value that we have such a problem with lack of respect in kids today.

  • 82.
  • At 08:02 PM on 13 Mar 2007,
  • PeeVeeAh wrote:

Tim Levell retorted:-

'PeeVeeAh (1) – TV is expensive and I wanted to demonstrate that; we can't just throw money at a problem.'

Then the 'problem' is not something you have the resources to deal with fairly and representatively! Perhaps you cannot maintain this kind of 'reporting' by your admission of inadequate funding?

I'm not being frivolous here. We're talking about kids who have no voting rights yet, but what if a survey's demographic on bigger issues is so fiscally challenged? It strikes me your strapped-for-cash reasoning might still skew the proportionality.

  • 83.
  • At 03:18 PM on 14 Mar 2007,
  • Colin - UK wrote:

I don't know whether or not there's any conscious effort by the BBC to show ethnic numbers in proportion or not, in truth it shouldn't really be a consideration. You interview the child not their skin colour.

The trouble with newsround is, and I agree with Jim, they seem to make a deliberate effort to seek out ethnic minorities for their voxes. Reverse racism is still racism and in my opinion their deliberate attempts to include people based on their skin colour is wrong (if indeed that's what they do). They should be included only on the basis of if they had something intelligent to contribute.

  • 84.
  • At 12:02 PM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • Zelda wrote:

Most non-whites on TV (esp. the BBC) might as well be called Token.

I have never come across anybody who is black. If I had I would take them to the nearest hospital. Same goes for white. If anyone has white skin they would need an urgent blood transfusion (unless they have hypomelanism, to be pedantic).

I don’t know why you group millions of people as being either black or white. Surely a child with pink skin doesn’t inherently think of him or herself as white? Same as a child with brown skin doesn’t inherently think “black”. When you did your survey, how did you group the children into either black or white camp? Did you use an RGB colouring system to determine the border between black and white.

This is divisive and unnecessary.

I also think it is patronising to worry about what shades of people’s skin colour is being shown on the television. Perhaps the next thing will be to ensure that big nosed children are getting a fair representation on tv so they won’t be left out…and small nosed children as well. And what about different eye colours?

The representation of people on tv is surely not a black and white issue. Immigration and integration is a much more important issue. I happen to think that immigration on a modest scale is very healthy. I think that immigration at the scale that we see today is destabilizing and potentially dangerous. It is not helped by putting us into one camp or the other camp.

People are just people. Kids are just kids. They surely are not born with in-built prejudice. At some stage a brown child (let’s says brown for now!) must be conditioned by the media to go into the black camp and the pink child (let’s say) in the white camp. Sometimes I do wonder if the children are more grown up than the parents.

  • 86.
  • At 05:01 PM on 15 Mar 2007,
  • Adrian Talbot wrote:

Exactly the same thing happens on "Breakfast". We saw several shots of children in school, and not a single white face. There is obviously a policy at work here, but it really is time the BBC realised that it is counter-productive.

  • 87.
  • At 03:37 PM on 17 Mar 2007,
  • D Armstrong wrote:

As long as the population of this country continues to be aware of colour, there will always be accusations of racism. I'm 21, and as a spokesmen for my generation (the future)i can say that if anything the Racism issue is just a bore. most of us dont give a damn. Stop polluting the atmosphere in the country. We all have to live together, its time to forget about 'multi-culturalism', stop being threatened by unfamiliar faces and grow up. Its your generations responsibility to repair the damage done by your liberal ideals and let everyone speak their mind. After all, they're only opinions!

  • 88.
  • At 11:10 PM on 17 Mar 2007,
  • Tom wrote:

I think it is sad that we have to discuss this at all, but i understand with out disscusion we can never go back to the days when childrens TV was just childrens TV.

The whole of CBBC seems very bias what ever reason you come up with it may not be at editorial level it may be higher but face it, its there!

I would consider my self in the silent majority until recently when i got so fed up that i complained.

And to make the point clear for all of CBBC and the BBC look at the Australian programs you buy Neighbours etc they could have the same problems as the BBC for getting the majority on TV but they manage, because the Australians are down to earth and dont live in a world were evry minority has to be shown say what you like but your bias. I think the most obvious example is the BBC 1 advert with the little children skiping around holding hands in the wonderful colourful world of the BBC.

The point is at some moment someone said lets get a child of every minority have them holding hand and skip in a circle.And its that sort of person who is attempting to brainwash children on CBBC.

  • 89.
  • At 08:34 PM on 18 Mar 2007,
  • nadia sani wrote:

one sees rivers of ink (nowadays ink cartridges) poured out on the so-called multicultural soceity of Europe. A lot of tosh!
How can society be multicutural if every occasion is good to divide people as per the colour of their skin?
Should we be saying that Europe is white but there are dark skinned people who creep in when they should not be seen or heard?

Or isn't it time to move on and worry about the real issues that affect people living in Europe be they black, brown or white?

  • 90.
  • At 11:36 PM on 19 Mar 2007,
  • Philip wrote:

Children like it. Children do not differentiate on colour as you adults are displaying as criticism. NEWSROUND is a practicle news snippit for kids following on from John Cravens Newsround. Leave the children channel alone and go and watch NEWSNIGHT with Jeremy Paxton instead for your phobias.
Leave the kids alone!

  • 91.
  • At 01:48 PM on 20 Mar 2007,
  • Helena wrote:

To Sophia in Scotland, what has the BNP got to do with the debate? Have I missed something? The issue is whether white children are being airbrushed out of voxes.If they are its shameful, but I dont know if that's the case. The BBC has a poor track record in reporting racial crime against whites...remember Kris Donald in Scotland Sophia?
A lot of Scots who never thought of themselves as victims of racism before suddenly started questioning the partisan role of the media including Auntie Beeb.
Do you have to be a card carrying BNP er to be concerned about the small slights and social/racial engineering in our country.......I'm a Scot too by the way.
In the absence of any serious debate on racial mix in Britain (not tinged with Far Left hysteria) its a poor day when the only semi reasonable response comes from the very people you are terrified of......the BNP.
Decades of tagging all white working class as racist by the chatterati has resulted in those very people losing confidence in the BBC as independent givers of impartial news.
There was a recent photograph in the Daily Mail of an English classroom with only one white "ethnic" child in the class. That is worthy of note when branding all who find that disturbing as BNP ers?

  • 92.
  • At 07:46 AM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • Teresa Harding wrote:

It worries me that Steven Stillwell, a teacher contributing in the post teaching about 'civilisation' at his school is worried that black children didnt know that Madonna was known as The Material Girl back in the 80's. So if black children also chose not to spend their weekends boozing would that be worrying too?
Is it really important to know who this Madonna is anyway? This newsround - too many non-white children story speaks volumes and is an over-reaction. There are far more programmes that have just white people and besides they are the ones in charge of programming so whats the panic?.
I think newsround is cleverly trying to show a mix of views, which is quite refreshing. Especially when the majority of the media only want to show black faces when its to do with rap, a community centre or crime.
As usual it is some of the zenophobes in this country that need to grow up!

  • 93.
  • At 09:38 PM on 23 Mar 2007,
  • paul wrote:

Teresa harding seems to be in the view that some of us non liberals (a majority)with an opinion are some what racist, its people like her that i would not want to give the time of day. you are above yourself, grow down!

  • 94.
  • At 09:54 PM on 24 Apr 2007,
  • Bob wrote:

Tim Levells 'right-on' explanation read like some kind of conjurers trick:

Now you see the rabbit - Now you don't.

It's just typical BBC coached double-speak to convince us that what we are seeing is merely an accidental illusion and not deliberate bias.

The simple, bottom line explanation for why there are more black faces than white on a programme like Newsround is because Tim - just like many of his BBC cohorts suffer from a serious dose of white middle class guilt.

They have this in-built knee jerk reaction to ethnic minorities which is in itself latent racism. They see all minority groups as marginalized and incapable, in so far that need preferential treatment over us the lucky over-priviledged white majority.

If there was any truth in this altrustic attempt to minoritize the entirity of the British media, why doesn't Tim just hand his job over to an ethnic minority.

Not only would it assuage his own terminal middle class guilt, it would relieve our contempt of his kind too.

I think what's really sad, is that some people are actually fooled into thinking that because this blog is allowed to go uncensored (except this bit properly) that means the powers-that-be at the BBC are actually listening?

No. They are just trying to give the impression they are listening, when all they ever hear are the sounds of their own over-inflated, self important politics.

Now you see the rabbit - Now you don't.

  • 95.
  • At 12:25 AM on 06 May 2007,
  • Ross wrote:

Children don't care about the ethnicity of contributors on Newsround broadcasts, they are interested in the diversity of the news itself and I think that this is an important fact we should ensure we don't steer away from. There is a wider issue here, if any, and that is that the Newsround production team should, for the sake of promoting a diverse range of opinions, seek to promote the views and opinions of people across the UK as a whole, for the sake of news, not political correctness. This challenge, however, is much harder from a constantly-changing news and broadcast perspective.

  • 96.
  • At 10:23 PM on 09 Jul 2007,
  • John Holmes wrote:

The BBC exhibit the kind of over-the-top Political Correctness that many reasonable, clear thinking people are less and less willing to accept. Nearly all BBC reports relating to schools show classes containing 80-100% of non-white children. Switch over to ITV and their school reports are more representative of the true population. This is only one example of the BBCs Politically Correct attempts to manipulate the viewer. Does it matter? Yes. I have many years experience of the stress that is caused to members of a cult forced to believe "truths" that are distortions of the truth. Eventually, the person forced to accept these "truths" either exhibits symptoms of mental illness or fights back with excessive force. Neither result is desireable. Political Correctness is a cult and it is building up stresses and strains in our society that will lead to undesirable consequences.

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