An awards ceremony honouring female journalists which was set up in less than a week has donated £4,000 to a crowdfunding campaign helping to “diversify the media” by offering free accommodation to interns.
The team behind Press Pad (pictured) said they were “completely speechless” after the donation last night from sponsors of the Words by Women awards, which included tech giant Google.
Press Pad, which launched in 2018, matches unpaid media interns with mentors who are established in the industry and can offer them a room for free for the duration of their placement.
The awards organisers, journalists Marie Le Conte and Joy Lo Dico, said they were making the donation “because we care about diversity in the media”, adding that Press Pad is “doing amazing work to help people get into journalism”.
Some 50 interns have so far been placed with senior journalists from the likes of Hello magazine and the Financial Times, who also offer advice and mentoring throughout.
The crowdfunding campaign, launched on 21 November, is aiming to raise £30,000 to hire a part-time coordinator to cope with more participants in the new year.
The crowdfunder is currently on £17,000 of its £30,000 target, which it must reach or it will receive nothing. The Words by Women donation means it has about £9,000 left to go in the final eight days of the campaign.
Press Pad founder Olivia Crellin (pictured, second right) told Press Gazette she was at the Women in Journalism Christmas party to try and drum up some donations with campaign manager Nicola Slawson when they heard news.
BBC journalist Crellin said: “We were completely speechless. We had actually had a pretty tough day.
“It’s gruelling doing one of these crowdfunders – that isn’t to say people should pity us, we did this because we wanted to raise awareness… We were really, really shocked, it’s just a really awesome gesture.”
Crellin also praised Words by Women for giving a £300 cash prize to each of the winners along with a further £300 each to give to a young or struggling journalist of their choice.
She said this “exemplifies their ethos”, adding: “It isn’t enough really to just do journalism nowadays.
“You’ve really got to think about how you’re doing it in a way that’s ethical obviously but also thinking about the questions of diversity and inclusion and in a very deep way because once you get that right a lot of your work authenticity of it, the relevance of it follows from that.
“We were absolutely speechless and so proud of all of them as well for making that gesture because I don’t know how they managed to get that award ceremony together in that time.
“It shows what an amazing group of women can do and sends a strong and powerful message to the rest of the industry.”
Crellin added that yesterday she was unsure if Press Pad would meet its target but that she was now feeling “quietly confident”.
However she urged potential donors not to be complacent, as any extra money donated over the £30,000 target will go straight into a bursary pot for young journalists.
The Words By Women Awards were relaunched after finalists for the politics journalism category of the Press Gazette British Journalism Awards this year were overwhelmingly male.
Press Gazette has said it will take steps to promote greater diversity next year, but can only draw its shortlists from entries. Journalists and publishers must apply to be eligible to win an award.
Picture: Press Pad