News bosses, Board Rooms lack diversity

100% of free-to-air television national news directors have an Anglo-Celtic background – and they are all male.

These are the findings of the report Who Gets to Tell Australian Stories released this week.

It also found ABC, Seven, and Nine’s boards have overwhelmingly Anglo-Celtic representation, while SBS was the only network with an Indigenous Board Member.

However, ABC has a female-dominant board.

National news directors, state directors and editors and bureau chiefs as at June 2020

The key findings from this data set are that:
• as of July 2020, every national news director in Australia has an Anglo-Celtic background (100%) and is male;
• of the 32 people working in the most senior news management roles, 28 (87.5%) have an Anglo-Celtic background, 3 (9.4%) have a European background and 1 (3.2%) has a non-European background;
• of the 32 people working in the most senior news management roles, 9 (28%) are women and 23 are men (72%), and 100% of these women have an Anglo- Celtic background; and
• the number of women working in news leadership roles vary (Seven has 0% women, Nine has 14%, Ten has 43%, ABC has 43% and SBS has 50%), though all women leaders identified have an Anglo-Celtic background.

Other key findings from interviews with editorial leaders in news and current affairs television:

  • Each leader thought their network was becoming more culturally diverse, but their perceptions are not borne out by the data collected in this study.
  • Despite leaders expressing enthusiasm for trying to increase cultural diversity, it is clearly not a priority. Most leaders are not working strategically to build greater cultural diversity in their workforces.
  • Most networks do not have employees, including managers, undertaking cultural awareness training to deal with unconscious bias.
  • While SBS and ABC have Charters that require them to measure and report cultural diversity, commercial networks do not.
  • Some leaders who had seen affirmative action getting results while working overseas were very positive about the concept. However, a number of leaders were critical of affirmative action, such as data measurement, did not believe it would lead to change and were highly opposed to targets and quotas.*Network 10’s Board is based in the US for ViacomCBS. Therefore, this is a summary of top tier leadership in Australia at the broadcaster.
  • It became clear that familiarity and a reliance on “insider recommendations” can influence who finds out about job opportunities, who gets to apply and who is offered an interview.
  • Networks don’t build diversity into their business cases, but advertisers do.

Network board members:

The key findings after examining the boards of TV networks are that:
• of the 39 television board members / leadership teams, only member one is Indigenous (at SBS);
• ABC, Seven, and Nine’s boards have overwhelmingly Anglo-Celtic representation;
• Ten’s most senior management* is composed of almost exclusively leaders who have Anglo-Celtic backgrounds (the one exception has European background);
• ABC has a female-dominant board (67% female);
• Seven has a male-dominant board (78% male); and
• SBS has the most gender- and culturally-diverse board (37.5% Anglo-Celtic, 37.5% European 12.%% non-European, 12.5% Indigenous and an even gender split).


The survey was distributed in June 2020 to 1600 potential participants through Telum Media – an Asia- Pacific-based media engagement platform with a membership base that includes journalists across all media sources and in all ranks. In total, 314 participants self-selected to complete the anonymous survey (c. 20% response rate).

* Network 10’s Board is based in the US for ViacomCBS. Therefore, this is a summary of top tier leadership in Australia at the broadcaster.


  1. jezza the first original one

    This feels like the authors have an agenda to racially purge leaders with an Anglo-Celtic background. No other racial group in any other profession are subjected to such scrutiny

  2. Obviously once the goals of the Media Diversity Council are within sight of even one of the Networks, plans should be underway to terminate SBS, whose funding and charter mirrors the aim of the report.
    Also the unexplained exclusion of NITV could rightly or wrongly lead people to think that it has just been put together by left wing academics who once again are exhibiting Anglo-Celtic phobia by influencing the outcome.

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