ITV News has announced the ten finalists for its Breaking Into News initiative.
The competition was designed to promote diversity and representation in broadcast journalism and is fronted by award-winning ITV News presenter Charlene White.
Ten finalists from across the UK have now been selected including mature student Kay Loveridge, Grenfell Tower activist Hadeel Elshak, and volunteer hospital radio host Steven Portman, plus Shanice-Kay Bolding, Jazz Halstead, Hayley McCullen, Oliver Youd, Malgorzata Bartram, Peter Moor, and Francesca Dean.
The finalists, who come from across the UK, will now be given the opportunity to work alongside mentors from ITV regional newsrooms to develop their own news reports.
The topics they have chosen to report on vary from the handling of the Grenfell Tower fire to job opportunities for people with disabilities and the integration of refugees.
Dean (pictured), a receptionist with cerebral palsy, will report on the importance of youth zones and the difficulty of finding work for people with disabilities.
She said: “I hope to give viewers an insight into my current job role at Blackburn Youth Zone, the importance of finding employment with a disability and why it is so important to give others with a condition, such as the one I have, the ability to speak up for what they believe in.”
Each news report will be judged by a panel of journalists including Roohi Hasan, ITV News senior news producer, Kate Watkins, head of TV News Training at Leeds University, Margaret Emsley, head of news at ITV Calendar, and Jasmine Dotiwala, head of youth engagement at Media Trust.
The overall winner will have the chance for their local news report to be broadcast on ITV and will receive £400 worth of journalistic equipment.
White said: “Breaking Into News has consistently attracted some of the brightest and most promising new journalistic talent from across the country, especially amongst the harder to reach pool of diverse and underprivileged talent.
“It’s about finding new and original voices in news and reflecting the society we live in, so I’m honoured to be fronting this fantastic competition once more and hugely passionate about providing more opportunity for those exceptionally talented to rise to the top and indeed break into news.”
The initiative was launched in 2012 and is run in conjunction with media communications charity Media Trust.
Su-Mei Thompson, chief executive of Media Trust, said: “It is vital that the media industry is representative of, and speaks to, the diverse range of communities that make up their audiences.
“At Media Trust, we encourage talent from all walks of life, backgrounds and abilities to pursue careers in the media.
“Programmes such as Breaking into News allow us to broaden the talent pool and give under-represented communities a voice. I can’t wait to hear the stories that this year’s finalists have to tell.”