Journalism Diversity Fund bursaries available to aspiring journalists

Picture: Sophie Maden, a successful applicant to the Journalism Diversity Fund in April 2009.

Student journalists from diverse backgrounds could receive help with course fees and living expenses by applying for bursaries from the Journalism Diversity Fund.

The next deadline for applications to the Journalism Diversity Fund is Friday 30 April.

Editors recognise it is vital that journalists reporting the news reflect the communities they serve and the Journalism Diversity Fund was set up in 2007 by those in the industry who want to support the training of journalists from ethnically and socially diverse backgrounds.

Applicants can be sixth formers, undergraduates, mature students, or professionals looking for a career change, but all will need to demonstrate a genuine commitment to journalism and the potential to be successful.

They will also need to demonstrate the diverse voice they will bring to a newsroom, a genuine need for a bursary and must be accepted on an NCTJ-accredited journalism training course starting in early autumn or later.

Sophie Maden was a successful applicant to the Journalism Diversity Fund in April last year. When she was interviewed by a panel of editors Sophie had a confirmed place on the NCTJ-accredited MA/PgDip Print journalism course at the University of Sheffield.

The Journalism Diversity Fund was able to provide Sophie with help for course fees and living expenses. Sophie started her course in September and she was delighted to pass her 100wpm shorthand exam in December.

Sophie said: “Without the help of the Journalism Diversity Fund I could not have afforded to complete the course, there is no way I could have done it.”

“The course is hard work, but because the Journalism Diversity Fund has shown such faith in me, it has really motivated me to do well.

“I would advise anyone to apply to the fund, it has opened up a large number of possibilities for me.”

Nicola Roots is a single mother who felt that an NCTJ-accredited journalism training course was financially out of her reach.

After successfully applying to the Journalism Diversity Fund Nicola has now started an NCTJ-accredited MA Journalism course at Kingston University. Nicola is studying part-time and taking two years to complete the course while caring for son Elliot, 4.

Nicola said: “Without a doubt I would advise other people to apply to the fund, I have a very working class background and as a single mother I would never have had the funding to start a journalism course.

“I would say to anybody, you should apply, you will be amazed at what you can achieve.”

Nicola said she is enjoying the course and is currently completing work experience at the Surrey Comet.

An application form and further information about the Journalism Diversity Fund can be found at www.journalismdiversityfund.com