Broadcast fails to pull the men

May 5, 2000

City University is struggling to recruit men onto its postgraduate diploma in broadcast journalism.

So far, only one place has been offered to a male applicant, who deferred his place from last year. A dozen other places have already been accepted by female graduates.

Jan Haworth, course director, thinks that the situation is unique.

"We have never had such a gender imbalance before and it is a serious problem," she said. "Our radio station will be dominated by female voices, and while it is great to get so many young women with the potential to be high-fliers, it is important to get the right kind of mix."

Interview pools have been completely female and have been dominated by "Zoe Ball types" rather than "Kirsty Warks", according to Sandy Waugh, a visiting lecturer at City and an LBC breakfast show presenter.

"As recruiters, we have the dilemma of choosing between those with personality and good looks or those with street-smart journalism, and there is no easy answer.

"We run this course to get people into work, so we have to provide the industry with what it wants. Broadcasting is being leapt on as a career for women - but where have all the men gone?"

Yet Bob Atkins, head of broadcast journalism at the University of Wales, Cardiff, has offered 16 places to men and 16 places to women for the September course.

"The number of men on the course does tend to fluctuate from year to year, but I have never heard of a nearly all-female course. Perhaps broadcasting is now seen as more a female-friendly atmosphere than newspapers, which are traditionally male-dominated," Mr Atkins said.

As the latest application deadline is in September, Ms Haworth hopes there will be a late flood of male applicants after the summer.

"We used to have to bend over backwards to promote women in broadcast journalism and now things seem to have switched around. I'm not worried though, it's just a bit creepy," she said.

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