Would-be journalists helped by the Journalism Diversity Fund will get the chance to network with industry professionals at an annual lunch to celebrate its success
On Thursday, 23 September, bursary recipients and their tutors will join supporters of the Journalism Diversity Fund at an event hosted by the Daily Mail in London.
The aim of the fund is to increase diversity in UK newsrooms by awarding bursaries to aspiring journalists from various backgrounds who demonstrate the commitment and potential to succeed in the profession.
Thanks to the Journalism Diversity Fund, 32 students are beginning their NCTJ training this year – a record number since the fund was set up in 2005. Not only will the celebratory lunch give them a chance to meet fellow bursary recipients who have just completed their course, but it will also allow them to network with industry professionals who support the fund.
Marverine Cole, a freelance journalist and former TV presenter for Sky News, helped interview applicants for the diversity fund on Friday, 13 August. She said the lunch was a “fabulous idea. Not only is winning a bursary important but so is networking. The bursary winners get the chance to meet fellow budding journalists – the foundation to a useful peer support group – as well as meet and forge links with people in the industry.”
At last year’s reception Kim Fletcher, chairman of the NCTJ, accepted a donation of £100,000 from the Newspaper Licensing Agency for the fourth year running. He stressed the importance of the Journalism Diversity Fund – which has now helped 95 budding journalists pay for their NCTJ training – and praised the journalism industry for identifying and responding to the need for change. Another major contributor to the fund is the Scott Trust, which makes an annual donation of £25,000.
David Pugh, managing director of the Newspaper Licensing Agency, spoke of his company’s ongoing support: “By the end of 2010, the NLA will have contributed over half a million pounds to the Journalism Diversity Fund since its launch in 2005. We, and the newspapers we represent, are proud to have supported the training of just under 100 journalists in that time. The lunch gives us an opportunity to celebrate that achievement and meet some of the bursary recipients who have been supported by the fund.”
Other confirmed guests include Chris Elliott, readers’ editor of Guardian News and Media; Hugh Carnegy, executive editor of the Financial Times; Chinwe Akomah, news reporter for the Congleton Chronicle; Dotun Adebayo, radio presenter for BBC Radio Five Live; and Benedict Brogan, deputy editor of the Daily Telegraph.
All 32 bursary recipients are from diverse backgrounds and demonstrated a genuine commitment to pursuing a career in the industry. They included a 25-year-old barman from an isolated rural community and two applicants who were helped by Catch 22 Academy – a social enterprise now working more closely with the Journalism Diversity Fund. Selena Gray and Christine Fashugba were both trainees on Catch 22’s ‘introduction to journalism’ programme, which supports aspiring young journalists, aged 18-30, who find themselves in difficult situations.
Applications for the Journalism Diversity Fund are now welcome for courses beginning in early 2011. Please click here to find out more information. Applicants can be sixth-formers, undergraduates or mature students, but they must have applied to an NCTJ-accredited course starting in early 2011 or later and have a genuine need for a bursary. The deadline for applications is Friday, 29 October.