£100k boost for Journalism Diversity Fund

The Newspaper Licensing Agency yesterday handed over £100,000 to help continue the work of the NCTJ’s Journalism Diversity Fund.

Speaking at an annual celebratory lunch for the fund – held this year at the offices of the Daily Mail in London – David Pugh, managing director of the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA), handed over the £100,000 cheque to Brien Beharrell, vice chairman of the NCTJ.

As one of the original sponsors, the NLA has donated £800,000 to the fund since it was launched in 2005. So far the fund has helped 130 aspiring journalists who come from backgrounds that are under-represented in the journalism industry.

NCTJ chief executive Joanne Butcher: “We are very grateful for the NLA’s consistent support over the years. This generous contribution to the fund has given so many talented students who are passionate about journalism the financial support they needed to start their careers.”

The latest sponsors, Sky, are the first broadcaster to contribute towards the scheme. Andy Cairns, Sky Sports news executive editor, said the company wanted to attract quality trainees who could reflect the diversity of their viewers.

He added: “If we care about the future of journalism, we should care about the diversity fund.”

Past recipient Robert Payling, who now works as a junior sub-editor for Sky Sports News, told guests how the diversity fund had made a difference to him. Describing himself as someone from a working class, single-parent background, he said: “Like many people who want to study journalism, the biggest barrier for me was finance. The diversity fund helped break down that barrier for me.”

Fellow past recipient Shabana Adam, who now works as parenting and travel editor for online lifestyle magazine, Female First, told guests without the support of the JDF, she would never have been able to forge a career in journalism.

She added: “Thank you for awarding me this bursary and deciding to invest in my future. For that help I am forever grateful.”

The latest recipients of the Journalism Diversity Fund were announced last month, they are: Nadya Ahmed, Jonathan Cronshaw, Khaleda Rahman, Sophie Mei Lan Slack, and Richard Wilson.

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