Write and tell stories that represent the world you live in

By Eimhear O’Neill, bursary recipient 2008-2009

Let me begin by writing that the best stories come from journalists who are invested in the subject matter.

It’s a simple fact – stories that exude passion and research stand out within a newspaper, news item or documentary. The more diverse our newsrooms are, the more we will read and watch stories of diversity that are often overlooked within the UK press. Not only is the Journalism Diversity Fund helping to invest in journalists from diverse backgrounds, it is also helping to make journalism become more diverse in its content, voice and style.

The best tip I ever received was to pay attention to events or issues that affected me, my wider family and friends or area. You can spend endless hours trying to think of a story but sometimes it best to stop, sit back and take a moment to see what is unfolding. Often, there are numerous stories circling around you.

I studied a Masters in Journalism at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is certainly an interesting place to live in. Everyone has heard about the Troubles and, for many years, our news mainly focused on this issue. To an extent, it still does and it will continue to do so, but we also have to create ‘new’ news about Northern Ireland and its people. The same principal should be applied to anywhere you live.

I currently work at a television production company where I am heavily invested in current affairs and documentaries and it’s a pleasure being able to produce such programmes as a job. While I didn’t pursue the traditional route of writing for a newspaper or working on the radio, I use my journalism training every day while producing documentaries for the BBC, RTE, History Channel and, most recently, HBO. I have worked in Belfast, Dublin, Boston and New York since qualifying as a journalist and it has been a fantastic experience.

The Journalism Diversity Fund was crucial in helping me enter the world of journalism, but in many ways, that was only the beginning. Being diverse in a newsroom allows the opportunity to pitch and focus on ideas and stories that have affected you or others you know. When possible, use this connection and write or tell that stories that represent the world you live in.