NCTJ awards highlight equality, diversity and inclusion in journalism

Two awards which celebrate diversity in journalism were presented at the NCTJ Awards for Excellence 2019, sponsored by The Independent.

Now in its second year, the equality, diversity and inclusion award, sponsored by the Financial Times, reflects the NCTJ’s commitment to help build a journalism workforce that better reflects media audiences and their interests.

The award can highlight any form of diversity and inclusion, and the judges were looking for evidence of success in making a measurable difference to diversity in journalism.

This year’s award was won by the BBC’s 50:50 Project, a grassroots initiative designed to inspire and assist journalists and producers to represent women and men equally.

The project has grown organically from one news programme to now include more than 500 BBC teams, who each aim to reach at least 50 per cent women contributors every month. The core principal is that the best contributor is used regardless of gender.

Brand new for this year, the Community News Project award, sponsored by Facebook, seeks to recognise the exceptional work done by reporters recruited by the Community News Project.

Diversity is a key part of the project, which accommodates both completely raw recruits and those who have already completed the NCTJ’s Diploma in Journalism.

To date, 66 per cent of reporters recruited by the project are from backgrounds not typically represented in the media.

Forty-seven entries were received for this award and the judges said the standard was “astonishingly high”, with reporters “demonstrating very clearly that engaging with communities pays off when it comes to great stories”.

From a shortlist of seven, the award was won by Shona Elliott, disability and equalities reporter at the Edinburgh Evening News. The judges praised Shona for combining digital skills with “good old-fashioned digging”, shining a spotlight on issues relevant to people living with disabilities in her city.

By examining council documents, Shona revealed that services for children with additional support-needs faced significant cuts, leaving disabled youngsters at risk of being isolated. Thanks to the spotlight shone on the story, the local authority agreed to think again.