By Richard Wilson, bursary recipient, 2012/2013
Thursday was the annual celebratory lunch for the Journalism Diversity Fund. The event brought together more than 60 professionals from across the industry and provided the opportunity for me to hear from past bursary recipients and discover whether the industry was as doomed as I’d heard.
I’m pleased to report this is not the case. As Arctic Monkey’s front man Alex Turner said moments before unleashing the bands hit ‘I bet you look good on the dance floor’ on Jools Holland back in 2005: “don’t believe the hype”.
The Journalism Diversity Fund has received almost £1m in support from within the industry and has helped fund 130 aspiring journalists, who come from under-represented backgrounds in the journalism industry, to follow their dream and, after speaking with them at the celebratory lunch, they are living their dream.
Speaking at the event, Robert Payling told guests the biggest barrier for him into journalism was the cost, but that “the diversity fund helped break down that barrier”. He now works as a junior sub-editor at Sky Sports News.
Another recent NCTJ graduate I spoke with was Shabana Adam. In her speech she told everyone that without the fund, she would never have been able to forge a career in journalism and thanked them for investing in her future. She now works as parenting and travel editor for Female First magazine.
Lucy Roue, another recipient, who now works at The Sentinel in Stoke-on-Trent, said she would never have made it this far and achieved her dream job without the Journalism Diversity Fund.
Whilst social media meant I had already said ‘hello’ to my fellow fortunate recipients from the last round of funding, the lunch meant I could actually say hello in person and share our experiences.
The event also provided an opportunity for me to meet those who had interviewed me on August 10. The brain is a funny thing; these people who I remember as being part of ‘my hardest interview ever’ were incredibly friendly and helpful.
I am determined to return in 12 months’ time, if they’ll have me, and hopefully share my own success story, which like so many, is only possible because of the support from the Journalism Diversity Fund.