Start managing content diversity in 5 easy steps

Written by Lars Damgaard Nielsen
Start managing content diversity in 5 easy steps

Whether you are a broadcast, online or audio based media (like radio or podcast network), it is a competitive advantage for your content to reflect the audience you serve. However - starting to monitor content diversity can be hard - but it doesn’t have to be! If you’re thinking about doing something about your content diversity, here are 5 easy steps to get you going!

1. Know your challenge

If you want to improve your content diversity, you have to know which categories you should focus on. Gender? Ethnicity? Age? For instance - there’s no need to focus on gender if you already have a balanced gender representation. So the first step to managing your content diversity is to do an introductory tracking and establish a baseline. This will give you the necessary insights to take the next step.

If you want a swift introductory tracking that will help you establish that baseline for your effort, using an AI-driven tracker can be a useful tool as it hardly requires any technical implementation, but more importantly it will save you from having to orchestrate the rollout of manual tracking across the entire organization.

2. Set goals

Next step is setting goals. After all: reaching those goals is what it’s all about! After your introductory tracking, you can decide on which categories you will focus on. Should it be gender or ethnicity? Or maybe age? Setting goals is not only about choosing a diversity category to improve. It’s also about deciding what your success criterion is - for the organization and your key stakeholders. Make sure to factor in which goals would excite colleagues and contributors the most, as they will be the ones who have to make the results happen.

Know that change does not happen overnight, so it can be a good idea to set a few sub-goals before reaching your end goal. A sub-goal can for instance be increasing the number of female sources on your content to begin with having an end goal aiming at 50/50 for male/female sources. Another type of sub-goal could be to challenge yourself to get one new source on your program each broadcast, where you have given thought to diversity. In this way, you will slowly build up a new and more diverse source database, which could be another kind of end goal.

3. Start small

Perhaps you find that you need to improve your content diversity through both gender, ethnicity and age. Here, it might be a good idea to start with just one category, for instance ethnicity. Improving content diversity is all about changing your routines, the way you think about your work, and how you perform your job. This takes time and energy, so there’s no shame in starting small.

It’s okay to be frustrated about just focusing on one category to begin with knowing there’s room for improvement across categories. However, experiences from other broadcasters show that focusing on more than one or maybe two categories makes the effort less potent.

In the first weeks and months, you will probably realize that getting the gender or ethnic balance right is hard, as you need to build up a whole new source catalog. But know that progress will be quick once the new routines settle in.

4. Build awareness and a common language

Make your diversity tracking a part of the editorial routine. Talk about it and integrate your tracking into editorial meetings and feedback. This will build awareness and as weeks turn into months, your team will develop a common language to be able to talk about diversity, which will help you and your team as you set new goals to take your content diversity to the next level.

How often you and your team will need to evaluate your content diversity will probably vary according to the type of program you produce. But most programs will benefit from the possibility of following your content diversity in real-time making diversity a constant parameter to evaluate on. With both daily or weekly diversity surveys coupled with for instance monthly, quarterly, or half-yearly surveys, you will start to see a clear pattern in your content diversity.

5. Communicate wins

Last but not least: Remember to celebrate your wins! It’s easy to get your eyes fixed on the next goal, but remember to take the time to gather the team and congratulate everyone on their successful efforts to improve their content diversity. This will also serve as motivation, as you and your team set out to reach your next diversity goal.

While communicating your content diversity stats can be a vulnerable action - especially in the beginning when you initiate the change - you must remember that you’re doing something to change the status quo, and there’s no win without risks. So while your numbers might not look good to begin with, know that they will improve as you push the change and put action behind your words.

Being transparent to your audience about your diversity tracking can be a way to build trust in a time where trust in news is generally declining (Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism ‘Digital News Report 2022’). Transparency can either be sharing an annual diversity report, much like the one BBC publishes on their 50:50 project, or it could be showcasing the diversity tracker on your website allowing your audience to follow your development in real-time. This was done by the local Danish broadcaster TV2 Fyn during the last general election.

The MediaCatch Diversity Tracker

At MediaCatch we have developed Diversity Tracker: AI-driven tracking of gender, ethnicity and age. All categories can be presented in the same dashboard to ensure a quick overview of your content diversity. Keeping on track with these three categories will ensure you are on top of your diversity data - and on track with your audience.

Download our Diversity Tracker presentation and get the background you need to inform your company's conversations around diversity and how you might drive efforts and measure the effects.

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Or contact Lars Damgaard Nielsen to get more information

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