When I first decided to undertake an NCTJ fast-track diploma in multimedia journalism, I faced the daunting question of how to fund it. I already had a considerable student debt so was reluctant to take out another loan, and my parents had limited means to assist me.
Even when I was told about the Journalism Diversity Fund, I was unsure initially about whether I would qualify. On further examination though, I realised that the JDF could be an option for me.
Shortly after my interview I undertook a summer school with News Associates London, with whom I had chosen to do my diploma. I enjoyed this so much that it confirmed journalism would be the path for me and was delighted to hear, during the course of the summer school, that I had been successful in the JDF application process.
Not only did this cover my course fees but an additional accommodation allowance enabled me to live reasonably close to News Associates which also suited my needs. The JDF not only supported me through the harder parts of the course, but provided me with invaluable experience and networking opportunities.
One example was early in the course when, having already covered several key facets of journalism including the production of an online newspaper, I was invited to an event celebrating the JDF at the London bureau of Bloomberg. Here I was able to share my experiences with other trainees, network with key figures and gain an insight into the work of this world-famous company.
These opportunities grew as my course progressed. The JDF informed me about a diversity open day with the broadcaster CNN. Having successfully applied for this competitive opportunity, I spent an invaluable day with CNN, working with others to pitch stories, source interview material and even present our own bulletin, where I volunteered for the role of correspondent. This was especially useful as my course had a limited focus on broadcast journalism and this experience opened my eyes to another career opportunity.
In addition to arranging a second trip to Bloomberg, this time a full tour of the London Office, the JDF has greatly assisted me with its mentor scheme. This pairs working journalists with trainees who’ve received funding from the JDF and my mentor was the then defence correspondent of the Daily Mail. As this is an area of journalism where I have a great interest, this relationship has proven invaluable for advice on journalism in general and for a job interview I had.
I have just started a new position as a defence reporter for a specialist company in this industry. For me, this is a dream job and I am very grateful to the JDF for helping me achieve this.