After a conscious effort to ensure every kid sees themselves in the comic, Beano has been awarded this year’s Diversity & Inclusion prize at the Professional Publishers Association Awards.
Judges were impressed that the magazine had drawn on research and expert advice to deliver changes which they said were ‘appropriate, immediate and lasting, ultimately altering the experience for readers’.
Judges also commented that the magazine’s ‘genuine commitment to make significant change at a fast pace is something to be admired’.
Changes to the magazine were driven by the recognition that while Beano was more diverse and inclusive, constant evolution was needed to always reflect modern Britain.
Beano used data from the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education as its guide, and worked with the charity Inclusive Minds who connect publishers with ambassadors from minority communities who share relevant lived experience.
In 2021, with CLPE and Inclusive Minds’ help, Beano added two new pupils to Mr Teacher’s rowdy Bash Street School register, with a further three in spring 2022. Mahira, Mandi, Harsha, Khadija and Stevie are all minority-ethnic Beano title characters who star in their own strips, but they are also the first permanent additions to Class 2B in over fifty years.
Also, to continue to create authentic stories, Beano is seeking out new talent, working on a mentoring/internship with CLPE and City University in London, whose Journalism course is noted for its strong intake from under-represented communities.
Rebecca Miskin, CEO of DC Thomson’s media portfolio said: “The team at Beano has done essential work, not only in recognising that the comic needed to change to better reflect Britain today, but by doing it in the right way. By building a story-world that reflects its readers’ realities, it encourages everyone to tell diverse and inclusive stories.
“Diversity of thought, background and culture is not just encouraged, but expected. This is a journey that is fundamental to our vision for the future across DC Thomson.”