Supporters celebrate success of Journalism Diversity Fund

Past and present bursary recipients along with media industry professionals met on Thursday to celebrate the achievements of those who have recently completed their journalism training.

More than 50 guests gathered at Pearson’s headquarters in London and Brien Beharrell, vice chairman, NCTJ gave a welcome address and accepted a cheque for £100,000 from David Pugh, managing director, Newspaper Licensing Agency.

David Pugh said the Newspaper Licensing Agency supported the Journalism Diversity Fund ‘to give something back’ to the benefit of the journalism industry and to date, the company has donated more than £700,000.

Two recipients then spoke about how the fund helped to kickstart their career in journalism.

Sophie Maden, who completed the MA course at the University of Sheffield last year, stressed that there are so many opportunities now for journalism graduates and that they should be grabbed whenever possible.

Following her studies she completed a placement working for Martin Lewis at and then went on to work as a reporter on a weekly newspaper and did Saturday shifts at the News of the World for a year before its closure. She is now working for online publication Media Week. Sophie said: "The skills I was taught during my training have been invaluable in the workplace and have helped me work across all media."

Fellow recipient Jermaine Haughton, who grew up on a council estate in London, completed the fast track course at News Associates in July and has completed work placements on a variety of publications including Zoo magazine. He said: “I did a placement at the Independent on Sunday during the time of the riots and a lot of things happened very quickly – and my ability to use shorthand was invaluable.”

Haroon Siddique, news reporter at Guardian News and Media, provided advice on how to be a successful journalist and the importance of NCTJ training, commenting that: "The NCTJ really helped me in my career." He also stressed the importance of diversity in the newsroom and advised all the students to be proud of their diversity. Haroon began his career at the South London Press and then went on to pass the National Certificate Examination.

Charles Goldsmith, head of corporate communications at Pearson, stressed the importance of corporate diversity and how proud he was about the company’s award-winning diversity training scheme. Prior to taking up this post he had a 25-year career as a journalist and worked on a number of titles including the Wall Street Journal.

A focus group, consisting of six bursary recipients, took place after the lunch to discuss further opportunities for supporting new recipients. As a result of the meeting, the Journalism Diversity Fund will be setting up a mentoring scheme so that recipients have an industry contact to provide advice before, during and after their journalism training. The scheme will also aim to increase employment opportunities to successful recipients.