Six Journalism Diversity Fund (JDF) recipients have been awarded specialist bursaries as they begin their NCTJ training.
Administered by the NCTJ, the Journalism Diversity Fund has supported more than 500 students from diverse backgrounds through their training since 2005.
Shannon Beck has been awarded this year’s Claire Prosser bursary, which helps people from all walks of life into broadcast and digital careers.
It was set up by the family and founder of the BBC Journalism Trainee Scheme, Claire Prosser, who died suddenly in 2014.
Shannon, who is studying at News Associates in Manchester, comes from a single parent low socio-economic background and hopes to use this to promote diversity in the newsroom.
Shannon said: “When I got the email through to tell me that I had been awarded the Claire Prosser bursary, I was speechless! It was totally unexpected and I’m feeling extremely grateful to be the recipient.
“I’m very passionate about journalism that makes a difference and hope that I can do Claire and her family proud.”
Paul Clabburn, founder of the bursary, said: “We are thrilled to award Shannon this year’s Claire Prosser bursary. We have no doubt that Shannon’s desire to succeed, combined with the potential shown in her treatment of a diverse range of story ideas, will take her far. We suspect Shannon’s versatility will give her many opportunities to consider whether the internet is a blessing or a curse!
“Crucially, we also felt that Shannon had a clear understanding of what Claire was about. We wish Shannon well and look forward to meeting her.”
Edward Hardy has been awarded this year’s Thomas Read bursary, which is presented annually to a JDF recipient with a long-term illness, health issue or disability.
The bursary was set up in memory of Sky Sports News journalist Thomas Read, who died unexpectedly in 2015, aged 25. Thomas, who had cerebral palsy, made brilliant progress during his short career and left a lasting impression on those he worked with.
Edward, who is also studying at News Associates Manchester, was diagnosed with autism at the age of seven, six years prior to developing symptoms for type 1 diabetes. Edward is determined to not let having autism prevent him from forging a successful career in journalism and show others that it is possible.
Edward said: “It’s a huge honour to be awarded the Thomas Ready bursary and I cannot thank the family and the Journalism Diversity fund enough. What they do to improve lives by helping trainee journalists with a disability is simply remarkable.
“I look forward to representing the bursary in the best way I can and will always be grateful for it as I advance through my journalistic career.”
Carolyn Read, founder of the Thomas Read bursary, said: “We are very pleased to choose Edward as our next recipient for the Thomas Read bursary. At his interview we were all really impressed with his positive attitude and his drive and determination to succeed.
“He showed a great interest in sport which reflects Thomas’ passion and enthusiasm. We wish him every success with his course and his future in journalism.”
The NCTJ team are embarking on a sponsored walk on Friday, 21 October to raise money for the Thomas Read bursary. Click here to donate.
In addition to financial support, recipients will have access to work placements set up through the bursaries.
Four JDF recipients have been awarded specialist bursaries through the Aziz Foundation, which came on board as a supporter of the JDF last year.
A family-run charitable foundation, the Aziz Foundation awards bursaries throughout the year to support JDF recipients from Muslim backgrounds.
Zuhur Jabir, Rabina Khan, Zeenia Naqvee and Rafe Uddin have so far been awarded the bursary in 2022. All recipients receive additional networking and insight opportunities from the Aziz Foundation.
Zuhur, who is studying at News Associates in Manchester, said: “Getting awarded this bursary means that I am able to achieve my career goals. The Aziz Foundation believed in me and my dreams of starting a career in journalism. I am extremely excited for this journey.”
Rabina is working towards her diploma with PA Training. She said: “I am deeply appreciative of this support, which means that for me as a woman of colour of a Muslim background I will be able to break through in a highly competitive sector.”
Zeenia, who is studying at Cardiff University, said: “As a young Muslim woman, I am keen to dismantle negative and sexist stereotypes of us in the media and I cannot wait to open up honest discussions on representation within the media sector and beyond.”
Rafe, who is also studying at PA Training, said: “The Aziz Foundation has played an active role in my development as a young journalist. From networking through to providing me with training and newsroom experience, their contributions have widened my possibilities and motivated me to aspire to do more impactful work.”
Click here to find out more about the Journalism Diversity Fund, and the specialist bursaries.