Training initiative launched to boost number of female experts on news

A joint training initiative to increase the number of female experts appearing in broadcast media north of the Border has been launched by STV News and Women In Journalism (WIJ) Scotland.

The pilot scheme sees the two organisations, which are working together to boost the profile of underrepresented groups on air, seek female health and science experts to take part in a virtual training workshop that will ensure they have the skills and confidence to carry out a broadcast interview.

STV said that as part of its ongoing partnership with WIJ Scotland to improve gender equality on screen, it will offer training to all women involved in the healthcare and science sectors who are considering becoming expert voices.

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The event, hosted by STV journalists and producers, will take place on April 1, and the plan is for future events to focus on other sectors.

Mahnoor Mahmood, who is doing a PhD in cancer sciences at the University of Glasgow, being interviewed by STV. Picture: contributed.
Mahnoor Mahmood, who is doing a PhD in cancer sciences at the University of Glasgow, being interviewed by STV. Picture: contributed.

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The move comes after a recent study found that 30 per cent of people invited onto TV news programmes in Scotland to share personal experiences or offer opinions are women. The analysis, conducted by Karen Boyle and Melody House of the University of Strathclyde, in partnership with Gender Equal Media Scotland, considered news output across one week, and also found that just 2 per cent of TV experts in Scotland are women of colour.

STV says it strives to achieve a 50:50 gender balance across every show as a key part of its wider diversity and inclusion strategy.

Linda Grimes, head of news and current affairs at the broadcaster, said: “There’s no shortage of talented, knowledgeable expert women in Scotland, but for a number of reasons, it’s sometimes hard to get them on screen, and they continue to be underrepresented.

“STV News is committed to changing that, and by joining forces with Women In Journalism Scotland, we plan to support female experts and empower them to take part in broadcast interviews with confidence and ease.”

Catriona MacPhee, co-chair of WIJ Scotland, said: "This training follows several previous workshops hosted by STV and WIJ Scotland, which has already empowered dozens of women to have their voices heard in the media. We hope to see many of these participants on our screens in the future and we look forward to rolling out the training to other sectors soon."

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