New Publication Media That Moves 1 Creating anti-racist representations of Gypsies and Travellers in the UK media

The Media that Moves project is one of the best things we have been involved in. It gives us the strength to go forward on the right road to tackle the negative news that journalists publish about us every day.”
Mena Mongan, Community Engagement Officer at London Gypsies and Travellers

We know the media environment around Gypsy and Traveller people is harmful, discriminatory and racist. This in turn fuels the damaging policy, exclusion and prejudice the communities face to this day. The bigger question is why? And what can be done to move towards anti-racism in the UK’s media?

Launched today, Media That Moves is a report from PIRC in partnership with Leeds Gypsy and Traveller Exchange and London Gypsies and Travellers. Based on 30 interviews with journalists, editors and activists and workshops with the Gypsy and Traveller community, the report examines the role of the media in perpetuating negative stereotypes, influences on the media, dominant narratives, and where they come from.

Findings show that the toxic interplay between “moral panic” and simplistic “hero-victim-villain” storytelling, feeds the “churnalism” business model of much of national media. The culture of the newsroom is also a major problem, with many participants sharing multiple examples of editors blocking fairer reporting. Drawing on other research, the report found on average one story Gypsies and Travellers per national newspaper every three days (not counting local news). The Daily Express and The Daily Mail alone counted for more than half of the stories published.

Much of the UK media is failing Gypsies and Travellers. To create change, we need to tell stories that are rights-based and focus on values and emotions while also building up new networks of power to tell Gypsy and Traveller stories that matter. We’re grateful to the people from within the media environment that were willing to talk with us for our research. This work seeks to show the potential for solidarity between journalists and the communities they report on, like Gypsy and Traveller people.
Rachel Trafford, Leeds GATE Communications Coordinator.

Leeds GATE and London Gypsies and Travellers are both organisations that work in partnership with the communities in West Yorkshire and London, and with staff who also identify as Gypsy and Traveller. Involving Gypsy and Traveller people from across the country, as well as both regional and national media was vital, to show this is an endemic nationwide problem needing nationwide attention.

This report is just the beginning. The project will now make research findings the backbone of multiple projects and interventions for much-needed change within the media for Gypsy and Traveller people. We must start to tell a new story.

We hope this research contributes to the wider awareness of prejudice and racism perpetuated by media in our society, leads to more news outlets examining and improving their practices, and also gives Gypsies and Travellers and allies some practical tools to make positive and long-lasting change”
Ilinca Diaconescu, Policy and Campaigns Coordinator at London Gypsies and Travellers.

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