Kamal Ahmed, editorial director of BBC, told students on the MA in financial journalism course at City University of London that, “if you don’t look like your audience, you cannot report for them”. A former journalism student at City, in his current job Mr Ahmed is responsible for shaping the BBC’s future editorial strategy. His first book, called “The Life and Times of a very British Man”, was published last year by Bloomsbury. In this book, he discusses racism and life as a member of an ethnic minority in Britain through his own personal experience.
In his talk, Mr Ahmed argued that the BBC’s editorial staff needed to reflect better the diversity of modern Britain. “Our work will suffer, if we don’t reflect this diversity”, he said. “Journalism is not just about putting forward what the problems are”, Mr Ahmed added, journalism should also address “who will deal with these problems”.
Mr Ahmed also emphasised the importance of economic literacy for journalists. “The 2008 financial crisis made it clear that one cannot be a great journalist without understanding business journalism”. He also stated that Brexit is a particular challenge for the BBC, because of the amount of jargon used in discussion about the issue.
After his speech, Mr Ahmed gave advice to the students about establishing a career as a financial journalist, with reference to his own experience of the media industry.