There is still a "long way to go" to improve diversity in British newsrooms, the editorial director of BBC News has said.

Kamal Ahmed told the Society of Editors conference in London he felt there had been a "middle class-isation" of news at some organisations in recent years, resulting in less diversity in the newsroom.

His views were shared by Vic Motune, head of news at The Voice, a publication aimed at a black British audience, who said that diversity had not "seeped through" into print newsrooms.

Mr Ahmed said: "I think one of the trends over the last few years has been this establishment of, at some organisations, this middle class-isation of news.

"That means a lot of diverse voices we are more used to seeing in newsrooms have diminished to an extent."

Mr Ahmed said he had been writing about diversity in the media since the 1990s when he was The Guardian's media editor, but added that "still it feels there is a long way to go".

Mr Motune told the conference: "I think in terms of print media, I think it seems as though diversity hasn't really seeped through.

"I think that broadcasters are getting there. I think one of the reasons why it is getting there is simply this explosion of social media.

"One of the things we have seen is broadcasters being very adept at looking at talent that is out there."

Mr Motune said more media companies were "very aware" of the importance of diversity in order to reflect their audience.

But he added: "One of the big barriers and one of the challenges that face our industry is that a lot of interns that come through are often expected to do unpaid internships, and certainly when you are trying to widen the pool of talent, there are just some people in those communities that can't afford to do it.

"I think that is a particular problem."

By Luke Powell