“The JDF gives diverse voices a shot, so make the most of it!”

– Jacqueline Shepherd, former JDF bursary recipient

HUGE CONGRATULATIONS on being awarded the JDF bursary – and if you haven’t applied yet – what are you waiting for? You could be just what journalism needs at this pivotal time in society.

My story isn’t your typical straight out of college looking for work account.

Jaqueline Shepherd

I was a mature student, I had worked for a number of years, although I had always wanted to study journalism the price tag meant it was inaccessible to me.

Thankfully I happened across a conversation where the JDF was mentioned. The closing date was imminent and I hadn’t yet received a place at journalism school but I applied anyway.

Needless-to-say the outcome didn’t go my way.

Roll forward a month or so. I had now received my place to study multi-media journalism at News Associates and applications for the next round of JDF support had opened.

This time the outcome was different and I was delighted to become a JDF recipient and start my course at NA in September.

The support I received from JDF removed the stress that comes from financial anxiety and enabled me to completely immerse myself in my studies, I was able to offer up my take on the world unfurling before us. That world included a BREXIT led election, a terrorist attack that occurred on London Bridge, and news of something called coronavirus, gaining pace.

The importance of having a range of perspectives in a seemingly a new era, was more vital than ever.

I finished my journalism studies in January 2020, and my qualification gave me the confidence to step into spaces that had previously seemed unattainable.

2020 has amplified the necessity for diverse voices in a way like never before and I am delighted to have been working in the newsroom at BBC Radio London and Times Radio for several months.

My position allows me to contribute guest suggestions, pitch programme ideas and highlight stories that add a perspective which may not be the typical voice.

Not typical shouldn’t mean not relevant or important, in fact one could say it makes it all the more important, as progress in society is stilted without voices from different backgrounds and experiences.

The JDF gives diverse voices a shot, so make the most of it and well done again!

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