The Sun and Mirror newspapers have each launched a paid work placement for post-graduate students who are actively engaged in British Muslim communities.
It follows the creation of the Widening Media Diversity Scholarship at City University in London, with two charities covering tuition fees (up to £10,200) for two students to complete a master’s degree in journalism.
One of the scholars will then be offered a minimum of three months work at the Sun, Britain’s best-selling newspaper, and the other will take up a six-month placement with rival tabloid the Mirror.
The City scholarships have been ear-marked for “exceptional students facing financial hardship” who are actively engaged in British Muslim communities and interested in the under-representation of Muslims in the media as well as more broadly in developing diversity in journalism.
The university said the scholarship’s aim was to “help develop a pool of Muslim journalists who can advance diversity in the media industry, improve reporting on religion and minorities in the media and champion under-represented communities”.
The successful scholars will be assigned mentors by their donors, the Randeree Charitable Trust and the Cosaraf Charitable Foundation, who will provide them with career advice and support.
Head of journalism at City, professor Suzanne Franks ,said: “We are committed to making entry to our MA courses as diverse as possible so that the profession in turn can reflect the widest possible range of voices.”
Sun managing editor Paul Clarkson said: “We recognise a real need to ensure good jobs in journalism are available to all, no matter their background.
“We hope this scheme will be the start of a real drive across all media outlets to ensure that their newsrooms are as diverse as our brilliant modern country.”
Sun editor Tony Gallagher recently spoke out about diversity in the media, saying the industry doesn’t take enough chances on people straight out of school or from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Research published last week by the Muslim Council of Britain’s media monitoring arm found that more than half of UK news articles about Muslims show negative bias towards them.