Toffs at the top - Press Gazette

Toffs at the top

Private education produces more than half of UK's top journalists

A new report has revealed that more than half of the UK's top 100 news and current affairs journalists were privately educated.

to a survey by the Sutton Trust, 54 per cent of leading national
newspaper editors, columnists, broadcast editors and news presenters
went to school in the private sector. Private school pupils account for
just 7 per cent of the school population.

The report also reveals
that 33 per cent of the top 100 went to grammar schools, and 14 per
cent attended comprehensive schools. Comprehensive schools currently
educate almost 90 per cent of children.

The Trust claims
journalism has become more private school-dominated over the past 20
years with the number of top journalists coming from the sector
increasing by 5 per cent. In 1986, 49 per cent of the top 100
journalists were privately educated, while 44 per cent attended grammar
schools and 6 per cent went to comprehensives.

The report says:
"Without exception every journalist we spoke to agreed that news and
current affairs is increasingly becoming a preserve for those from more
privileged backgrounds — more often than not those educated in private
schools. In particular there is perceived to be a systematic bias at
the beginning of careers towards those who are well off and from the
London area."

It claims the perception was based on the belief that privately educated journalists were more likely to:

■ Survive the low pay and insecurity that are endemic at junior levels in news journalism;
■ Afford the costs of living in London and postgraduate journalism courses;
■ Have family contacts within the industry.

survey also reveals that of the 81 per cent of the leading journalists
in 2006 who had been to university, more than half were educated at
Oxbridge, including a third who went to Oxford. Among the 1986 sample,
78 per cent were university graduates, 67 per cent of whom had been to
Oxbridge, including two-fifths to Oxford.

Among Oxbridge-educated
national editors are Roger Alton, of The Observer, Lionel Barber, of
the Financial Times, John Bryant, at the Daily Telegraph, Alan
Rusbridger of The Guardian and Peter Wright of the Mail on Sunday.

the survey also shows that some national editors made it to the top
without a university education. They include Robert Thomson of The
Times, Richard Wallace at the Daily Mirror, Dawn Neesom at the Daily
Star and the News of the World's Andy Coulson.

Oxbridge educated
broadcasters include Adam Boulton of Sky News, Channel 4's Krishnan
Guru-Murthy and the BBC's David Dimbleby and Matt Frei. The BBC's John
Humphrys and ITV's James Mates and Trevor McDonald did not go to

A section in the report about nepotism says: "Family ties remain a powerful force in the newsroom.

are countless examples of sons and daughters, brothers and sisters,
partners and former partners who have followed in the footsteps of
relatives in pursuing successful careers in journalism."

report further reveals that the proportion of women among the top 100
news journalists increased from 10 per cent in 1986 to 18 per cent in

Lee Elliott Major, news editor of the Times Higher
Education Supplement, who led the research, said: "What the research
does not suggest is that editors routinely favour those from privileged
educational backgrounds. But it does point to a systematic bias towards
the better off at the crucial entry level into national news

NUJ national newspapers officer Barry Fitzpatrick
told Press Gazette: "Clearly we are concerned about anything that would
appear to restrict or limit entry into the profession. We're very
concerned with the current situation where entry into the industry is
quite an expensive career choice.

Because of low pay and the cost
of people's degrees and qualifications it means that people from poorer
backgrounds and families simply don't have journalism as an option.

"Again the report does highlight that position.

We would agree with that as one of the conclusions it makes."

Trust chairman Sir Peter Lampl, who set up the Trust in 1997 to promote
social mobility by providing educational opportunities to young people
from non-privileged backgrounds, said: "It cannot be healthy for our
media leaders to come mostly from backgrounds that are so different
from the vast majority of the population. The newspaper and
broadcasting industries are not attracting a rich diversity of recruits
and should look urgently at their recruitment processes."

Sutton Trust is an educational charity that has previously researched
the educational backgrounds of the UK's top lawyers and MPs.


TV Editors producers
Kevin Bakhurst BBC Ten Oclock News Haberdasher's Aske's, Elstree IND Cambridge
Peter Barron BBC Newsnight Royal Belfast Academical Institution SEL Manchester (UMIST)
Helen Boaden BBC News Northgate Grammar for Girls, Norwich; Cedars Grammar, Bedfordshire SEL Sussex
Mark Calvert Five News Heath Grammar, Halifax SEL No
George Carey Independent Downside IND Oxford
Amanda Farnsworth BBC Six Oclock News St Paul's Girls, London IND LSE
Roger Graef Independent Putney, Vermont INT Harvard
Jim Gray Channel 4 News John Neilson High COMP Stirling
Colin Hancock BBC World at One Lawrence Sheriff Grammar SEL Edinburgh
Peter Horrocks BBC King's College, Wimbledon IND Cambridge
David Kermode BBC Breakfast News Ryde School, Isle of Wight; Highbury College, Portsmouth IND No
David Mannion ITV News Long Eaton Grammar, Derbyshire SEL No
Kevin Marsh BBC Today The Grammar, Doncaster SEL Oxford
Stephen Mitchell BBC Radio News Loughborough Grammar IND Manchester
Nick Pollard Sky News Birkenhead SEL No
Peter Rippon BBC PM and Broadcasting House Gillott's Comprehensive COMP East Anglia
Deborah Turness ITV Network News St Francis Convent, Hertfordshire; The Knight's Templar, Baldock COMP Surrey
Fran Unsworth BBC St Dominic's High for Girls, Stoke-on-Trent IND Manchester
Adrian Van Klaveran BBC Bristol Grammar SEL Oxford



Roger Alton Observer Clifton College IND Oxford
Lionel Barber Financial Times Dulwich College IND Oxford
John Bryant Daily Telegraph Sexey's, Bruton, Somerset SEL Oxford
Andy Coulson News of the World Beauchamps Comprehensive, Essex COMP No
Paul Dacre Daily Mail University College IND Leeds
Matthew d'Ancona Spectator St Dunstan's College IND Oxford
Tristan Davies Independent on Sunday Douai IND Bristol
Bill Emmott Economist Latymer Upper SEL Oxford
Peter Hill Daily Express Hulme Grammar SEL Manchester
Ian Hislop Private Eye Ardingly College IND Oxford
John Kampfner New Statesman Westminster IND Oxford
Simon Kelner Independent Bury Grammar SEL Preston Polytechnic
Geert Linnebank Reuters European, Brussels INT Vrije, Brussels
Gareth Morgan Daily Star Sunday Codswall, Wolverhampton COMP Manchester
Dawn Neesom Daily Star Valentines High, Ilford Essex COMP No
Paul Potts Press Association Worksop College IND No
Alan Rusbridger Guardian Cranleigh IND Cambridge
Sarah Sands Sunday Telegraph Kent College, Pembury IND Goldsmiths
Mark Thomas People Rutlish, Merton COMP No
Robert Thomson Times Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology INT No
Martin Townsend Sunday Express Harrow County Grammar For Boys SEL London College of Printing
Rebekah Wade Sun Appleton Hall, Chesire IND Sorbonne
Veronica Wadley Evening Standard Francis Holland, Benenden, Kent IND No
Richard Wallace Mirror Ratcliffe College, Leicestershire IND No
John Witherow Sunday Times Bedford IND York
Peter Wright Mail on Sunday Marlborough College IND Cambridge


David Aaronavitch Times Holloway County Comprehensive; William Ellis COMP Oxford; Manchester
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown Independent Uganda INT Oxford
Craig Brown Daily Telegraph Eton IND Bristol
Jonathan Freedland Guardian University College IND Oxford
Andrew Gilligan Evening Standard Grey Court, Ham COMP Cambridge
Simon Heffer Daily Telegraph King Edward VI, Chelmsford SEL Cambridge
Peter Hitchens Mail on Sunday The Leys,Cambridge; Oxford College of Further Education IND York
Sir Simon Jenkins Sunday Times Mill Hill IND Oxford
Boris Johnson Daily Telegraph Eton College IND Oxford
Richard Littlejohn Daily Mail Deacon's Grammar, Peterborough SEL Harlow Technical College
George Monbiot Guardian Stowe, Buckinghamshire IND Oxford
Jane Moore Sun Worcester Girls Grammar school SEL No
Allison Pearson Daily Mail Market Harborough Upper; Lincoln Christ's Hospital COMP Cambridge
Quentin Peel Financial Times Wellington College IND Cambridge
Melanie Phillips Daily Mail Putney High SEL Oxford
Andrew Rawnsley Observer Lawrence Sheriff Grammar SEL Cambridge
Brian Reade Mirror De La Salle Grammar SEL Warwick
Peter Riddell Times Dulwich College IND Cambridge
Will Self Evening Standard University College IND Oxford
Philip Stephens Financial Times Wimbledon College SEL Oxford
Polly Toynbee Guardian Holland Park Comprehensive COMP Oxford
Alan Watkins Independent on Sunday Amman Valley Grammar SEL Cambridge


TV Presenters
George Alagiah BBC St John's College, Portsmouth SEL Durham
Mark Austin ITV Bournemouth SEL No
Adam Boulton Sky News Westminster IND Oxford
Jeremy Bowen BBC Cardiff High SEL University College London
Tom Bradby ITV Sherborne IND Edinburgh
Fiona Bruce BBC International school of Milan; Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham Girls' , New Cross SEL Oxford
Nicky Campbell BBC Five Live Edinburgh Academy IND Aberdeen
Evan Davis BBC Ashcombe, Dorking SEL Oxford
David Dimbleby BBC Question Time Glengorse, Battle; Charterhouse IND Oxford
Jonathan Dimbleby ITV Charterhouse IND UCL
Huw Edwards BBC Llanelli Boys Grammar SEL Wales in Cardiff
Gavin Esler BBC Newsnight George Heriot's, Edinburgh IND Kent
Matt Frei BBC Westminster IND Oxford
Krishnan Guru-Murthy Channel 4 News Queen Elizabeth's Grammar, Blackburn IND Oxford
John Humphrys BBC Today Cardiff High SEL No
Martha Kearney BBC Newsnight George Watson's Ladies College, Edinburgh IND Oxford
Andrew Marr BBC Dundee High, Craigflower, Fife, Loretto, Musselburgh IND Cambridge
James Mates ITV Marlborough College, Farnham College, Leeds IND No
Trevor McDonald ITV Tonight Schools in Trinidad INT No
Robert Moore ITV Dragon, Oxford; Repton, Derbyshire IND Oxford
James Naughtie BBC Today Keith Grammar SEL Aberdeen
Bill Neely ITV St Malachy's Belfast SEL Queen's Belfast
Mary Nightingale ITV St Margaret School, Exeter; King Edward VI, Totnes IND Bedford College (London), now Queen Mary
Jeremy Paxman BBC Newsnight Malvern College IND Cambridge
Nick Robinson BBC Cheadle Hulme SEL Oxford
John Simpson BBC St Paul's IND Cambridge
Jon Snow Channel 4 News St Edwards IND Liverpool
Martin Stanford Sky News Chichester High for Boys; Wood Green, Witney COMP Brunel
Edward Stourton BBC Today Ampleforth College IND Cambridge
Jeremy Thompson Sky News Sevenoaks, Kent; King's, Worcester IND No
Jeremy Vine BBC Politics show Epsom College IND Durham
Kirsty Wark BBC Newsnight Wellington, Ayr IND Stirling/Edinburgh
Kirsty Young Five News High of Stirling COMP No



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