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NCTJ Journalism Diversity Fund passes milestone as it helps 150 students pay for their training

The NCTJ Journalism Diversity Fund  has now helped more than 150 aspiring journalists fund their training.

The milestone was celebrated at a lunch on Thursday last week hosted by The Sun for the latest group of grant recipients. Newspaper Licensing Agency managing director David Pugh used the occasion to hand over a cheque for £100,000 to help the fund continue.

He said: “NLA media access sponsorship provides the Journalism Diversity Fund with practical support, which enables people from a wide variety of backgrounds to become journalists - paying for course fees, living expenses – and from this year funding paid internships. Our donation, which totals £880k this year, is made on behalf of national newspaper publishers – who hope to see Journalism Diversity Fund graduates appearing in their newsrooms in the coming years”.

Also speaking at the event was Ian Murray, editor-in-chief of Southern Daily Echo and vice-president of the Society of Editors.

He said: “We hope that one day the Journalism Diversity Fund will no longer be needed but we know that will not be the case for quite some time. We need more editors to come on board, we need more companies to come on board, not only to donate, but also to play a part in mentoring and adding to the fabulous work that is going on already.”

Dan Cooper, who was awarded a bursary in 2012 to study at News Associates and now works as a reporter for the Newbury Weekly News, told guests how the diversity fund had made a difference to him.

Describing himself as from a working class, single parent family, he said: “I’ll always be grateful for the support and the faith that the Journalism Diversity Fund have shown in me. Without their help I would not have been able to afford to do the NCTJ course and go on to become a journalist and I can’t wait to see where the next year will take me.”

Fellow recipient Khaleda Rahman, who was the first bursary recipient to take part in the Journalism Diversity Fund internship scheme, will be working as the journalism intern for the NCTJ before taking up a position as a reporter at the News Shopper.

She said: “Diversity in the media is something I believe in strongly, newsrooms should reflect the communities they represent- and I plan on promoting the fund as widely as possible to reach more prospective applicants and help other budding journalists get the same support I did. The Journalism Diversity Fund has been instrumental in helping me get my foot in the door and hopefully they will continue to do the same for others from ethnically and socially diverse backgrounds for many years to come.”

Applications for the Journalism Diversity Fund are now welcome for courses beginning in early 2013. More details here.

 Applicants can be sixth-formers, graduates or mature students, but they must have applied to an NCTJ-accredited course starting in early 2014 or later and have a genuine need for a bursary. The deadline for applications is Wednesday, 6 November 2013.

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