BMJ becomes the latest sponsor of the Journalism Diversity Fund

BMJ is today announced as an official partner of the NCTJ’s Journalism Diversity Fund (JDF).

The global healthcare knowledge provider and publisher of The BMJ will contribute financially to the fund and actively participate in the JDF’s mentoring programme, offering successful candidates the chance to gain insights into its specialised branch of journalism.

Chris Jones, BMJ chief executive officer, said: “At BMJ, our vision is to help create a healthier world for all. We know that to fulfil that vision, we need to identify with the communities we support. That’s why we are delighted that this partnership allows us to directly impact underrepresented groups of people in a positive way.”

The JDF was established in 2005, thanks to an annual grant from NLA media access, and the scheme has enabled more than 400 people from disadvantaged backgrounds to undertake professional journalism training on NCTJ-accredited courses. In 2020 alone, the JDF offered assistance to a record 59 individuals, thanks to the backing of its growing number of media partners.

Will Gore, head of partnerships and projects at the NCTJ, said: “It is brilliant to welcome BMJ as a supporter of the JDF, as we work together to ensure that people can get access to professional journalism training, whatever their background. We love being able to open people’s eyes to the wide variety of opportunities that exist in the industry, and are hugely looking forward to connecting the students we support with The BMJ’s highly specialised form of journalism.

“The growth of the JDF in the last couple of years has demonstrated just how much commitment there is in our sector to diversifying newsrooms. The track record of the scheme speaks for itself, and it’s great that so many employers – who will ultimately benefit from the talent of JDF alumni – are offering their support.”

Since the start of this year, the JDF has received financial backing from five new partners, and is now supported by 19 media organisations.

The NCTJ continues to seek additional sources of funding so that this tried and trusted programme is able to meet demand from the rising number of prospective journalists who would otherwise not be able to gain professional qualifications.

Bursaries are awarded to help cover the costs of NCTJ course fees and/or living expenses, depending on an individual’s specific circumstances. All bursary recipients are matched with a professional journalist mentor from one of the sponsoring media organisations for the duration of their course.

Successful candidates are also connected with work experience opportunities and other insight events organised by the NCTJ and its JDF partners.

The Journalism Diversity Fund is now supported financially by 19 media organisations: BBC, Bloomberg, BMJ, CNN International, DMG Media, Dow Jones, Financial Times, Google News Initiative, Insider Inc, ITV News, Newsquest, News UK, NLA media access, PA Media, The Printing Charity, Reach plc, Reuters, Sky and Yahoo UK.

All sponsoring organisations play an active role in the evolution of the scheme.

The NCTJ recently released a new report about levels of diversity within the journalism field. It revealed that people from lower socio-economic backgrounds, and people who are black or from other minority ethnic groups, remain under-represented in journalist roles.

Find out more about the Journalism Diversity Fund here.