Supporters celebrate success of Journalism Diversity Fund

Media industry professionals, bursary recipients and their tutors met on Thursday to celebrate the success of the Journalism Diversity Fund. More than 60 guests attended the annual lunch, which this year was hosted by the Daily Mail at Associated Newspapers’ offices in Kensington, London.

Robin Esser, executive managing editor of the Daily Mail, welcomed guests and Brien Beharrell, vice chairman of the NCTJ accepted a cheque for £100,000 from David Pugh, managing director of the Newspaper Licensing Agency.

David Pugh said he was “delighted” to make the donation, which would “help train young journalists and support diversity in newsrooms.” As one of the original sponsors, the company has donated £800,000 since the fund was set up in 2005.

Also speaking at the event was Andy Cairns, executive editor of Sky Sports News. Sky is the diversity fund’s newest sponsor and the first broadcaster to contribute to the fund.

He said the company wanted to attract quality trainees who could reflect the diversity of their viewers: “We want to be the best at Sky and to be the best, we have to attract the best.” He added: “If we care about the future of journalism, we should care about the diversity fund.”

Two former gold standard NCTJ students who received bursaries also spoke about how the fund helped to kick-start their careers in journalism. Robert Payling, who was a bursary recipient in 2010 and now works as a junior sub-editor for Sky Sports News, told guests how the diversity fund had made a difference to him.

Describing himself as someone from a working class, single parent background, he said: “Like many people who want to study journalism, the biggest barrier for me was finance. The diversity fund helped break down that barrier for me.”

Fellow recipient Shabana Adam, who recently graduated from the University of Central Lancashire with a MA in magazine journalism, now works as parenting and travel editor for online lifestyle magazine, Female First.

She said: “Without the Journalism Diversity Fund there is no way I would have been able to take this crucial step towards what I hope will be a successful career in journalism. Thank you for awarding me this bursary and deciding to invest in my future. For that help I am forever grateful.”

The Journalism Diversity Fund has helped 130 students begin their careers in journalism since it was established seven years ago.

Applications for the Journalism Diversity Fund are now welcome for courses beginning in early 2013. Please click here to find out more information. Applicants can be sixth-formers, graduates or mature students, but they must have applied to an NCTJ-accredited course starting in early 2013 or later and have a genuine need for a bursary. The deadline for applications is Friday, 26 October 2012.