RTÉ welcomes DCU/FUJO Research Report
(RTÉ & COVID-19: Diversity and Inclusion and meeting public needs)
The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) has launched a new research report that reviews RTÉ’s diversity and inclusion response to the evolving COVID-19 crisis. Produced by DCU and FUJO, in collaboration with RTÉ, the report evaluates how RTÉ adapted its output (radio, television and online) and work practices to meet diverse public needs, to represent a range of topics and voices, and to overcome the technological and staffing challenges associated with our response to the global pandemic, including health and social distancing measures. Research questions included: How did RTÉ perceive its role during the crisis and what challenges and opportunities arose for public service media? How is diversity and inclusion conceptualised and enacted within RTÉ? How diverse were the voices in programming during the crisis?
Carried out in the first half of 2020 – at the very beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic – the DCU/FUJO Research Report is a snapshot from a moment in time which acknowledges that RTÉ has made significant progress in defining and promoting a strategic vision for diversity and that it is taken seriously by RTÉ decision-makers.
Looking at six programmes, three each on RTÉ One (The Late Late Show, Claire Byrne Live and Ireland on Call) and RTÉ Radio 1 (The Today programme, Brendan O’Connor and The Business), across three months, the report finds that:
- Even during a global pandemic, many of the programmes included strived for gender parity, with a 60:40 male-female gender split reflected across all programme participants.
- The majority (69%) of items featuring more than one participant included both men and women.
- 18 percent of items about Covid-19 introduced a diversity dimension to the discussion of the pandemic.
Dee Forbes, Director-General, RTÉ, says: “This was a valuable process at a time when we were adapting to the unprecedented challenges created by the global pandemic. While RTÉ achieved 60:40 male-female representation across all participants on the six programmes selected, we are aware that we must do more to achieve our 50/50 target and we have been putting a range of measures in place to make this happen. Since this report was carried out, we have continued to make progress in this area, not least across our sports programming which has been evident in our Euros, Olympics and Paralympics coverage throughout the summer.”
Earlier this year RTÉ established a Diversity in Content group, bringing together senior leaders from across the organisation to review, discuss and progress all RTÉ’s efforts regarding diversity and inclusion in our content.
In addition, RTÉ:
- Is implementing a 50:50 initiative using methodology rooted in data to look at gender diversity in our content across radio, television and online. The initiative is already part of the workflow of a number of teams and will be extended to more teams over the coming months.
- Is actively exploring technological solutions to help with data gathering. A new software solution will be introduced to the teams in RTÉ Sport in Autumn 2021 to help with the data gathering process.
- Is evaluating GDPR-compliant solutions to introduce databases which will help our programme makers discover new voices.
- Has introduced an internship scheme aimed at underrepresented groups.
- Is continuing to offer a variety of diversity and inclusion training and events for all our staff.
RTÉ welcomes the report’s recognition that a new regulator should have a pivotal role in training and development with the specific aim of serving under-represented groups.
A copy of the report can be found here.