NCTJ diversity fund gets £100,000 boost as new students begin training

The NCTJ was today awarded £100,000 for its Journalism Diversity Fund from the Newspaper Licensing Agency to increase the social and ethnic diversity of British newsrooms.

The NLA formally handed over the cheque today at a reception at Associated Newspapers‘ London headquarters, part of an agreement signed in April that will see the agency donate £100,000 a year to the NCTJ until 2010.

The money will pay for people from ‘socially and ethnically diverse backgrounds’to study NCTJ journalism courses and 11 students will begin studies as part of the scheme in the next few weeks.

The 11 include 24-year-old biochemist Jennifer Thomson who will be studying for a journalism MA at Salford University and construction worker Harvey Hook, who will be studying photojournalism at Sheffield Norton College.

Another trainee this year, Lee McConville, 23, from a deprived part of Birmingham who shadowed Times political editor Phillip Webster during the G8 Summit this year and had his articles published in the Times and the Kentish Times, and found himself explaining the experience to TV’s Richard and Judy. Like Webster, McConville will be studying journalism at Harlow College.

David Pugh, managing director of the NLA, said: ‘The Newspaper Licensing Agency has supported the Journalism Diversity Fund since its launch and has now, with today’s cheque, contributed more than £380,000.

‘The NLA and the UK newspaper publishers that it represents recognise the valuable work of the fund in developing the next generation of journalists from a variety of backgrounds.”

Those who have benefitted from the scheme in past years include: Chinwe Akomah, now a trainee reporter at the Congleton Chronicle; Kim Carmichael, trainee reporter at the Newcastle Journal; Rosemary Davenport, trainee reporter at the Lincolnshire Echo; Karen Fazackerly, sports journalist at the Press Association; Nina Kelly, reporter for financial information company Lafferty; David Menon, who works at the Woking News and Mail and freelances for Sportsbeat; Ashionye Ogene, is an assistant news editor at ITN, and

Daniel Smith, deputy entertainment and sports editor for lifestyle and entertainment website realbuzz.com.

Speaking at the event, Robin Esser, executive managing editor at the Daily Mail, which supports the fund, said: ‘We at the Daily Mail believe in encouraging young journalists from different ethnic and social backgrounds to take up this great profession because we want to see more of our diverse communities coming into mainstream media – be it newspaper, television, or radio.

‘In the present climate, it is vital that the beneficial effects of our varied society are reflected throughout the British media.”

Also present at the event were Guardian Media Group, News International, Pearson, the Scott Trust and the Society of Editors, all supporters of the fund.

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