Read advice from leading journalists on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, about how you can make a difference in your work life.
“Think of DEI as the means to make the work environment better for everyone in it… somewhere where people feel psychologically safe to speak up and be themselves.”
BE AWARE OF THE DIFFERENCES
There is a need to recognise that members of the LGBTQ+ community are as different to one another as heterosexuals. Remember that the community has many different personalities and comprises more than just white people. There are lots of letters in the LGBTQ+ community, giving you plenty of angles and lifestyles to consider. Many members now have families, and this should be represented too.
CONSIDER NEW ANGLES FOR ARTICLES
Standard features on anything from travel to weddings can be improved by considering the LGBTQ+ community as it gives different angles and new topics to explore. It also highlights that members of the community have the same day-to-day lives as everyone else. This normalisation helps drive acceptance in the UK.
USE INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE
Never make assumptions. For instance, ask women: “Do you have a partner?” instead of: “Do you have a husband?”. This is an immediate reassurance that you are on the side of the community.
CHALLENGE YOUR CLIENTS
If a hotel says it is LGBTQ+ friendly but never uses images of LGBTQ+ couples in its PR and marketing content, then flag this. Make yourself an ally of the community and push the conversation.
DON’T PLAY THE BLAME GAME
Don’t blame journalists for working for certain national newspapers which the community consider to be bad.
Editor, TTG (Travel Trade Gazette)
More diverse coverage can be achieved by making basic changes and by talking with clients to generate new ideas. PR companies also need to be better and more vocal in publicising their own successes in the arena. Embracing a diversity and inclusion strategy is no longer an option, it is a must.
Pictures featuring more people of colour are a simple start. PRs must ensure that racial diversity becomes intrinsic to the brands they represent.
REACH OUT TO OTHER PUBLICATIONS
There are many smaller titles steeped in diversity but which don’t get the same opportunities as the big magazines. Offering them stories instead will be welcomed.
DON’T CONFINE YOURSELF TO SPECIFIC EVENTS
While you can use annual events such as Black History Month to highlight diversity, companies need to implement a wider strategy to incorporate diversity and inclusion throughout the year.
RECRUIT MORE PEOPLE OF COLOUR
PRs can also look at their own offices to see how diverse they are. Creative diversity is the product of a diverse office and will drive business for you. PR agencies should use headhunters with specific briefs to seek out people of colour – even outside the industry – to fill senior roles.
Stories about disabled people are best if you consider the emotional journey as opposed to the physical reality.
CONSIDER A NEW ANGLE
People with disabilities can bring a new angle to standard features. Ella has written a story about dating as an amputee and a health feature on running with a blade. But don’t expect someone to be a voice for disability just because they are disabled. It took Ella five to six years before she started writing about the topic having got “to a place where I felt no-one else was standing up for this and I felt a responsibility to do so”. Remember that stories have to stand up in their own right, simply hanging it on a disabled hook won’t work.
ACCOMMODATE PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
Last year Ella interviewed deaf twins Hermon and Heroda. They insisted on doing the interview over email and while this presented challenges, it allowed the twins to tell their story in the manner they felt most comfortable.
Double checking with journalists if they have any access requirements when attending an event is helpful. Ella admits she is not too phased by a couple of flights of stairs upon arrival at certain venues but knows journalists who would struggle.
Roxhill's Pitching Guide on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is the practice of ensuring working environments are fully inclusive for every employee, allowing them to feel safe irrespective of their background, their needs or their differences.
Download our free guide to read on and learn about what you can do to change things.