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FIPP World Media Congress 2024: DEI & Culture

Diversity, Equity, Inclusivity, and Culture have become increasingly important for all progressive, modern media companies, not just in terms of hiring staff but also in engaging increasingly multicultural and diverse audiences. At the 46th FIPP World Media Congress held earlier this month, DEI&C was quite rightly a central theme. Our DEI&C roundup will form part of the 2024 Congress report to be announced soon.

For nearly all delegates at Congress, inclusivity has become a central pillar of their business operations, not as a marketing gimmick but in a serious attempt to engage (and respect) the full breadth of their audience.

It was perhaps apt, therefore, that this year’s Congress kicked off just days after the start of Pride Month, celebrated each June to honour the 1969 Stonewall uprising in Manhattan.

Whilst enormous progress has been made, more needs to be done, with one Congress delegate rolling her eyes at the news that (yet again) numerous global manufacturing brands had re-designed their logos to incorporate rainbow colours except for in the Middle East – the one territory with no LBGTQ rights.

It’s difficult to argue with her comment, “How can it be a moral stance when it is dependent on market conditions?” Ouch.

Fortunately, there are many attempts to genuinely engage with DEI, as reflected in several Congress conversations in Cascais.

It’s about trust

For Liz Plosser, Editor in Chief, Women’s Health magazine the key issue is one of trust, “We celebrate the diverse interests, backgrounds, ability levels, and ages of all our audience. We believe that everyone is welcome, no one is ever judged or shamed, and that everything feels easier with support and encouragement.”

For Women’s Health magazine, inclusivity is one of three central tenets of its mission, with loyalty and community forming the other key pillars. Plosser added, “Our readers are united by a common passion and are inspired to share, comment, save and amplify our content because it has helped them or inspired them on their wellness journey.”

“We like to think of ourselves as ‘perfectly imperfect human beings’.”

Plosser concluded, “The most valuable signal of success is when a reader returns directly to Women’s Health because they trust us implicitly.”

Culture is diversity

Speaking on the Specialist Stage, Doni Aldine, CEO of Culturs Global Multicultural Lifestyle Media, discussed the importance of reaching ‘culturally fluid individuals’, defined as people who have a foot in two or more cultural worlds, including multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and geographically mobile people.

Described as the ‘prototype citizen of the future’, more than 238M culturally fluid people now live around the globe. One of the fastest growing segments of the world population, Aldine told delegates, “What’s needed for the media is market understanding and to embrace the change that’s coming.”

“When people hear diversity, often they say race, which is a problem. It’s really about culture. The cultural inbetween are people of culture. It’s not people of colour but includes people of colour.

“This is a very large niche population, a very nuanced population and each sub-segment of this population has its own characteristic that we have to pay attention to.”

She ended with a clarion call to action, “Everyone deserves to feel they are seen. So, embrace that cultural inbetween and create impact. The media can help our communities by making sure everyone in our community feels like they have a place and a sense of belonging.”


Nicki Murphy, CEO of the River Group, ended Day One on the Auditorium stage describing how she has spearheaded Reflect, the only UK talent management agency in the DEI space that operates as a community interest company.

Murphy outlined how 21% of the global population is disabled, yet this demographic is not proportionately represented in media, a situation she has been determined to address. Reflect’s mission is clear: to ensure that everyone can see themselves represented in the media they consume.

She continued, “All our profits are used to find people in socially immobile communities – people of colour, LBGTQ, disabled – and bring them into the world of content and media.”

“This might mean we teach someone with ADHD to become a videographer, or we might put someone through a media journalism course in college, etc.”

She also had a stark word of warning for companies wanting to work with Reflect, “We will only work with executives who truly believe in what we’re doing, and who are not just being tokenistic by featuring a minority individual in their campaign.”

Wokeness is out.

Inclusivity and belonging are in.