Monday, January 17, 2011

London Evening Standard's Sarah Sands: 'We need to watch unthinking age bias'

Sarah Sands
The age activist and film critic Joyce Glasser wrote to the dep ed Sarah Sands of the London Evening Standard just recently. Congratulating the paper on being the first to splash on Miriam O’Reilly's ageism victory against the anti-wrinkly BBC, and on its various laudable campaigns against discrimination of any sort, Ms Glasser nonetheless drew attention to the Standard's own form of ageism - ignoring people in their 50s and 60s for their opinion poll pieces and interviews.

She wrote: "I always wonder why, in 85% of cases where there is a ‘person on the street’ poll or interview over issues (with photos) the people are in their 20s and 30s."

Much to my surprise, I can report that Ms Glasser received an intelligent and sympathetic response. Sarah Sands accepted that bias may be "unthinking". She explained that many powerful people and City movers and shakers - the major focus of newspaper coverage - are getting on a bit so "it is always nice to see some balancing young faces."

But she added: "Unthinking 'screening' in news needs to be watched and I have forwarded your email to the relevant parts of the newspaper so that everyone is more aware of their choices. I hope you see an improvement."

This is very good news indeed and I shall look forward to a greater diversity of age in the ES. Isn't it refreshing to report something positive about our newspapers for a change.


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Madame Arcati said...

I shall nonetheless post stories on age discrimination even though my lazy, complacent and basically I'm-all-right-Jack readers think it has nothing to do with them. They can go fuck themselves and get a hernia.