Telum Webinar Recap: Diversity in the Newsroom

By Sam Jo Yeo

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) has been a growing area of focus for many corporations, and news organisations in Asia are no exception. The recent Advancing News Diversity in Asia (ANDA) report by the Asian American Journalists Association's Asia Chapter (AAJA-Asia) found that while DEI is linked to job satisfaction and retention, discrimination still persists in Asia's newsrooms. The study, supported by the Meta Journalism Project, also showed that Asian journalists believe there is much room for improvement on this front.

Where does the lingering inertia to address DEI stem from? How can media folks improve diversity at the workplace and in their reporting? Can it sometimes backfire?

To answer these questions and more, Telum Media sat down for a webinar with the following panellists:
  • K. Oanh Ha, President, AAJA-Asia
  • Anjali Kapoor, Director of News Partnerships, APAC + MEA, Meta
  • Cliff Buddle, Special Projects Editor, South China Morning Post
  • Angie Lau, Editor-in-Chief, Forkast.News
Here are some highlights from the discussion:
  • DEI is an entrenched value in Asia, but it doesn't necessarily translate to reporting. Journalists sometimes feel held back by their organisations or their own fear that such reporting would not fare well with their audiences. (10:16)
  • Women journalists do not feel supported. Many have reported facing sexual harassment at their news outlets and from their sources. (12:20)
  • Many workplaces have inherited an unconscious bias from old systems and processes that values "masculine" leadership traits. More than just having women in front-facing positions, there is also a need to reconsider which qualities actually help with talent retention and business growth. (22:26)
  • "Outliers" and "troublemakers" should not be dismissed, but instead embraced for the diversity that they have to offer. (26:34)
  • Leaders in newsrooms and beyond should challenge themselves to redefine what leadership entails. Employees may become competitors at some point, so it is in everybody's self-interest to be less dismissive of those who express themselves differently. (31:39)
  • It is important for journalists to have strong mentors and allies in the newsroom who can stand up to editorial agendas that may not represent them. (34:38)
  • DEI does not have to come from the top. It can also be done at the ground level, such as ensuring your sources are from diverse backgrounds. Data analytics can help to identify what the audience wants. (36:27)
  • Newsrooms should not be deterred by naysayers and critics when it comes to DEI reporting. Part of journalism is about changing mindsets and representing a multitude of experiences. (40:28)
  • Diversity quotas are there to enforce change, but they can also lead to doubts about someone's merit. (45:05)
  • Some ways to improve DEI reporting: Use more inclusive language and ensure a diverse staff that can represent various topics and communities. (50:34)
  • Journalists in the region say that top editors and executives could do with more DEI training. There is a general disconnect between managerial and non-managerial assessments of DEI. Training leaders can help DEI become an entrenched part of a newsroom's culture. (1:01:10)

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Telum Media


Angie Lau

Founder and Editor-in-Chief

Cliff Buddle

Special Projects Editor

K. Oanh Ha

Senior Reporter

Anjali Kapoor

Telum Media

1 contact, 123 media requests


60 contacts, 1 media request

Bloomberg Hong Kong

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South China Morning Post

71 contacts, 29 media requests


2 contacts, 11 media requests

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