The National Council for the Training of Journalists have launched a promotional video for the Journalism Diversity Fund, produced by Sky Sports News apprentice Daniel ‘Zinny’ Boswell.
The video, which was launched at the Journalism Diversity Fund celebratory event on Wednesday, 18 October at Google News Lab in London, features contributions from current and previous bursary recipients as well as sponsors and supporters, sharing their experiences and highlighting the importance of the fund.
Jo Adetunji, deputy editor of The Conversation, reflected on her experience of receiving a JDF bursary in 2007, which she used to complete a fast-track course at Lambeth College. She said: “It was kind of instrumental to me, taking myself forward and launching myself into reporting.”
Before joining The Conversation, Jo worked as a reporter and editor at The Guardian, covering stories from UK knife crime to the Arab Spring. She said: “If journalism is to reflect society and to improve it and to uncover the truth, I think the people within it need to reflect that.”
Journalist, presenter and author Gemma Stevenson was awarded the Thomas Read bursary from the Journalism Diversity Fund in 2015. Speaking in the video, she says that deciding to train as a journalist is a decision she has never regretted. She said: “I keep a really big tab on wheelchair tennis, reporting for TV and radio. Without the JDF and without the Thomas Read bursary I would not be where I am today.”
Hugh Muir, associate editor of Guardian Opinion, said: “It is absolutely essential that we have talent from the widest possible pool. If we can help them through our grants to get into our industry that’s an absolutely brilliant thing to do.”
BBC World Service journalist Mark Pivac, who has been blind since the age of 18, said: “Had there been something like that at the time I was breaking out into journalism, I think it would have given me a lot of support and speeded up the process for me.”
As well as trying to inspire aspiring journalists from all walks of life to consider a career in journalism, the video also aims to highlight the importance of industry support, which has enabled the Journalism Diversity Fund to award 248 bursaries since its launch in 2005.
Andy Cairns, executive editor of Sky Sports News, said: “Sky Sports News are big supporters of the Journalism Diversity Fund, as is Sky. We support it financially, and we support it in other ways as well, encouraging people to enter the profession and supporting events around the JDF. It’s really important to us that we have a more diverse group of people coming into journalism.”
Joanna Webster, managing editor for strategy and operations at Thomson Reuters, spoke about their recent sponsorship of the fund: “The JDF is really consistent with the Thomson Reuters values of attracting and retaining the best and most diverse talent and we’re really passionate and believe that it’s important that newsrooms across the sector reflect the communities they serve.”
Jonathan Grun, emeritus editor of Press Association, offered some advice to aspiring journalists who may feel that the industry isn’t for them: “Don’t be afraid about applying. Journalism is for you, we need diverse newsrooms, so don’t be afraid about applying and be persistent.”
Contributors to the video include: Jo Adetunji, deputy editor, The Conversation; Joanne Butcher, chief executive, NCTJ; Andy Cairns, executive editor, Sky Sports News; Ellen Clabburn, founder, Claire Prosser bursary; Matt Cooke, head of international, Google News Lab; Jonathan Grun, emeritus editor, Press Association; Hayley O’Keefe, content editor, Bucks Herald; Connor Parker, 2017-18 bursary recipient; Mark Pivac, journalist, BBC World Service; Kevin Read, founder, Thomas Read bursary; Gemma Stevenson, freelance journalist, Para-Sport; Joanna Webster, managing editor for strategy and operations, Thomson Reuters