Areas of expertise:
TNS/Broadcast Ready poll gives experts on TV and radio news a boost
By Kerry Hopkins
1 in 4 of experts on the news are women. The UK’s first ever of it’s kind TNS/Broadcast Ready poll of the British public, revealed on the 15th January 2015 shows that one in three TV News viewers believe there should be more female experts in broadcast media. The poll went onto look at male spokespeople too, and I’ll come onto that. A lot of organisations do not offer their corporate spokespeople up to give analysis and commentary on breaking news stories or planned diary stories – to start with, most firms do not have the right contacts and phone numbers.
I knew when I revealed the findings at TNS’ office to a panel of broadcast heavyweights, the NUJ and an audience of professionals, the results would be emotional for some and a marketing opportunity for others. TV and radio news audiences were found to disregard gender, level of attractiveness and ethnicity when judging an expert’s credibility but the majority of those surveyed thought both genders were equally represented on news outlets, an erroneous assumption.
To me, as Managing Director of Broadcast Ready, a proactive service that trains and then gets experts on air, there is a long held belief held amongst psychologists in particular that what people think they see isn’t always what is actually there…Only 25% of the experts on the news are female, yet 54% of the public thought both genders are equally represented. Broadcast Ready has had hundreds of news opportunities over the last year and 61% of the experts we’ve got on the news are women and 39% are men.
I have worked closely with Expert Women, established by City University/Broadcast magazine, a three year initiative to survey the gender balance of the news on our screens, has found that just one in four featured experts are female. The Expert Women campaign is trying to raise the number of expert women on the news to 30%.
Yet there’s certainly no shortage of expert women, ONS government figures from 2013 show that approximately 28% of Britain’s ‘highly skilled’ workers are male and 25% are female. Many in Britain’s workforce will have had a female boss at some time in their career and yet this gender balance in the workforce is rarely reflected on the news. Expert women and men – if you feel you have the potential to be good on TV or radio news, do go speak to your PR departments and the Board and ask them to invest in you by organising broadcast training for you, adding you to their corporate spokespeople list and then they need to find the right specialist firm to help get you on air. It’s one thing being a spokesperson, but journalists need to know about you and at the time it matters most to them.
The results from our survey also found that experts wishing to raise their profile would do well to appear on broadcast news programmes. Experts on TV are perceived by audiences as ‘highly credible’ or ‘the best in their field’ with many viewers searching the experts on internet search engines during or after transmission. Broadcasters can also take heart that the TNS/Broadcast Ready poll showed that experts who appeared on televised news were held in much higher regard than those quoted in newspapers. The TNS/Broadcast Ready poll reveals that when assessing an expert’s credibility viewers’ considered largely irrelevant include:
Factors viewers care most about:
If you think you or your spokespeople have got what it takes to get on the news or get more broadcast interviews, Broadcast Ready’s services include broadcast news spokesperson training, verification as a credible broadcast news expert, entry onto the NUJ endorsed online video-only database and the Broadcast Ready team actually helping support the journalism industry by getting the experts onto the news to react to breaking news stories and planned diary stories. Panelists, chaired by Kerry Hopkins on the 15th January 2015 at TNS, were:- Steve Anderson, Managing Director, NBC’s Peacock Production, Natasha Shallice, Series Producer of ITV The Agenda, Michelle Stanistreet, General Secretary, NUJ, Matt Barbet, News Anchor, Channel 5 News, Naomi Kerbel, Business News Editor, Sky News and Professor Lis Howell, Director of Broadcasting, City University London.
Broadcast Ready expert women campaign