BBC journalists connect with Journalism Diversity Fund recipients at special event

BBC journalists imparted practical advice to the Journalism Diversity Fund recipients to help them get their foot in the door.

BBC journalists imparted practical advice to help journalism students get their foot in the door at a special event for Journalism Diversity Fund (JDF) recipients.

Three BBC journalists from different departments – Helen Brown, senior news editor at BBC Sport; Cheryl Varley, producer at 5 Live; and Ella Hambly, BBC News journalist – formed the Zoom panel on 6 March.

More than 30 JDF recipients who attended were told about the BBC’s approach to making the organisation more diverse in culture, got insights about how to land shadow shifts and learned about its apprenticeship route.

Kicking off the event, which was held in collaboration with the NCTJ, Helen spoke about the different roles within the BBC Sport team.

She said: “In some ways it’s the best job in the world – we get to think about sport all day and make telly out of it.”

Ella has just finished her journalism apprenticeship with the BBC and is on the NCTJ’s Awards for Excellence 2023 shortlist in the apprentice of the year category.

She said: “A lot of my fellow apprentices came straight out of doing the NCTJ [Diploma in Journalism] and I will say, they hit the ground running in a way perhaps the rest of us didn’t.”

Cheryl, who gave Journalism Diversity Fund recipients a tour of 5 Live at the NCTJ’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Conference last year, said: “I think the starting point for any journalist, the first thing to think about, is what kind of journalist do you want to be?

“Because there’s not one type of journalist.”

The JDF awards bursaries to people from diverse backgrounds who need help funding the NCTJ’s Diploma in Journalism either as a standalone qualification or as part of a master’s degree course.

Through more than 500 bursaries awarded since the fund was set up in 2005, more people have been able to access the NCTJ’s industry-standard journalism training, making newsrooms better reflect the communities they serve.

Nikki Akinola, senior diversity and inclusion co-ordinator at the NCTJ, said: “Thank you to the BBC and our three panellists for giving up their time for this event.

“It was a great evening, and the JDF recipients got really important advice for the next stage in their journalism journey – securing their first job in the industry.”

The JDF is supported by more than 20 organisations, including the Google News Initiative, the BBC, BMJ, CNN, FT, Channel 4, Insider, ITV, Newsquest, Reach and Bloomberg.

This panel was part of an NCTJ events programme which enables JDF students and alumni to gain insights from, and connect with, the organisations which support the scheme.

Since 2018, working journalists from the supporting organisations have also been paired with JDF recipients to mentor them during their studies.

Find out more about the JDF here.

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