Three previous recipients of the Thomas Read bursary will be joining the NCTJ on Saturday, 4 August to raise money for the fund which helped them train as journalists.
The bursary is awarded each year through the Journalism Diversity Fund, and helps people with a long-term illness, health problem or disability train as journalists.
The bursary was set up by the family of the young Sky Sports News journalist, Thomas Read, who died unexpectedly in 2015, aged 25. The Read family will be participating in the 15km walk, which will start and end at the NCTJ’s offices in Newport, Essex.
Rory Claydon was awarded the bursary in 2017, which enabled him to study towards his NCTJ-accredited MA in news journalism at Cardiff University, and he is now working as a financial reporter for Fundmap.
He said: “I’m very proud to be able to take part in the August fundraising walk for the Thomas Read bursary, which has proven life-changing for me, and I know this walk will allow them to continue helping many others for years to come.
“It’s a hugely important fund that has helped me get my foot on the media ladder – journalism is an industry that can benefit massively from diversity, but for someone with a disability, it can be difficult to get started in what can be a rewarding, enriching and important career.
“Thanks to the Thomas Read bursary I received world-class journalism training and secured my first media job as a financial journalist. As someone with a specific learning difficulty, I wouldn’t have been able to get as far as I did without the help of the JDF and the Thomas Read bursary, but thanks to their commitment to opening up journalism as a career for everyone, regardless of their disability or background, I, and no doubt countless others in the future, will be able to make their mark as journalists.”
Connor Parker, who received the bursary in 2017 alongside Rory, will also be joining the walk. Connor studied on the NCTJ-accredited MA journalism course at the University of Sheffield and is currently working as an intern reporter at the Huffington Post.
He said: “The Thomas Read bursary changed my life. In just over a year I’ve gone from working in a call centre to working as a reporter at the HuffPost, I couldn’t be happier”.
Gemma-Louise Stevenson, who was the first recipient of the bursary in 2015, will also be joining the NCTJ and supporters on the day. Gemma, who achieved her MA in sports journalism at St Mary’s University, is now a freelance journalist, presenter and author specialising in tennis and para-sport.
She said: “I’m delighted to have been invited by the NCTJ to be part of this event. It’s a cause really close to my heart as it’s where my sports journalism journey began”.
The NCTJ are halfway towards their fundraising goal of £2,000. Please support this very worthy cause to help people with disabilities train to be journalists by donating here.