2021-22 bursary recipients

Find out about each of our bursary recipients for 2021-22 below.

Zara Qureshi

Yasmin Al-Najar

Simran Johal

Lucy Edwards

Lowie Trevena

Lauren White

Keifer MacDonald

Joshua Askew

Daz Skubich

Danni Scott

Daniel Hill

Alisa Wylie

Zara Qureshi

Since having had her first journalistic experience at the age of 16 on BBC Parliament, Zara has spent the last seven years of her life trying to master the art of asking questions and thinking critically. In doing so, Zara has been to contribute her thoughts on London Live, BBC Radio Asian Network, LBC Radio and BBC 5 Live.

To answer the world’s toughest questions, Zara seeks to champion a diversity and heterogeneity of thoughts and ideas as a journalist. Zara will be starting the News Associates part-time NCTJ multimedia journalism course this October.

Yasmin Al-Najar

Yasmin Al-najar is a British Syrian Muslim freelance journalist. She has a master’s degree in human rights and political science and a particular expertise in identity politics and human rights. In September 2021 Yasmin will be doing an NCTJ fast-track diploma in multimedia journalism with News Associates. She is excited to work with other journalists. Muslim women are under-represented and mis-represented and are often subjects of conversation but are not conversed with. Through her lived experiences and expertise, Yasmin can help to fill in the gaps in the media when it comes to insight, sensitivity and knowledge surrounding marginalised communities.

Simran Johal

Simran is a languages graduate who is going to be starting the NCTJ fast-track diploma in multimedia journalism at News Associates London. Simran brings diversity through her Indian heritage. She is an active member of the community, speaking the language and partaking in the culture. She hopes to bring fresh perspectives that can help other understand what many ethnic minorities may be thinking about and wants to help create visibility in an environment that is inherently white and male. Her aspirations take her across the world into places she has never been before, sharing news with everyone, everywhere.

Lucy Edwards

Since graduating in 2020 from the University of Cumbria with a BA (Hons) in English literature, Lucy has worked as a freelance journalist and has written articles for various online magazines and platforms both in the UK and overseas. She also runs Hollr, a news and entertainment platform for the Cumbrian youth.

From September, she will be studying for an NCTJ-accredited MA in journalism with the University of Sheffield thanks to the JDF.

Lucy aims to diversify the media by bringing her perspective as an LGBT+ individual from a rural area and a low-income background who grew up in a situation of extreme domestic violence to the forefront of discussions.

Lowie Trevena

Lowie Trevena is a 23-year-old journalist who aims to better represent LGBTQ+ communities. They are a queer and non-binary writer who has worked for publications including Bristol24/7, Metro and Girlguiding. Their favourite things are black coffee, cats and using words to change the world.

Lauren White

Lauren has worked in journalism from the age of 13 with the North East literacy charity Bringing Words to Life. It has been her lifelong dream to become a political correspondent for a major TV network (and anchor of News at Ten if she’s being really honest), which saw her achieve a BA politics and philosophy degree from Durham University. Working-class and hailing from the North East, Lauren is determined to prove that people with her accent and background have unique insights to share in our newsrooms. She will study the NCTJ-accredited MA journalism course at the University of Sheffield.

Keifer MacDonald

Keifer is a multimedia sports journalism graduate from UCFB’s Etihad campus. He will be studying towards his NCTJ qualification at News Associates in Manchester. Specialising in sports, Keifer is a Premier League accredited freelance journalist that has bylines with the Liverpool Echo and Liverpool Football Club.

After being raised in a working-class family by his mother, a single parent, Keifer is looking forward to giving those from under-represented parts of society a voice to tell their stories in the sporting world.

Keifer says he is extremely grateful for the funding he has received from the JDF, he believes the funding towards his NCTJ will allow him to unlock his full potential in this industry.

Joshua Askew

Educated on free school meals, then heavily subsidised college food at Cambridge, Josh can rub shoulders with all walks of life. From grafting in factories, learning Persian in Tehran, documenting border violence in Greece to pedalling Deliveroo, there are few things he has not found himself doing. These extraordinary experiences, plus an intimate understanding of the struggles people face, will allow Josh to bring diversity to the newsroom. Josh will be studying with PA Training in London.

Daz Skubich

Daz Skubich is a 23-year-old freelance journalist who is originally from a small village in Essex. They moved to Manchester for university in 2016 and never left as they fell in love with the city. Daz will be starting the News Associates Manchester part-time multimedia mournalism course in October alongside their full time job. They hope to use their lived experience of being a disabled, queer, working class person to bring new perspectives to a variety of news rooms and specialist publications. They are especially passionate about arts and culture reporting, particularly video games.

Danni Scott

After graduating from Swansea University with a BA in English literature, Danni became the lifestyle editor for The Indiependent. She has pushed for diverse stories in this position and championed mental health awareness and the LGBTQ+ community.

As a pansexual woman, Danni hopes to use the skills she will learn on the NCTJ to bring attention to the issues faced by women and queer-folk on a larger scale. She also speaks out about class divisions and making eco-conscious choices. She is incredibly grateful for the help of the JDF and is excited to start her NCTJ qualification with PA Training.

Daniel Hill

Daniel is proud to have been given the privilege of being one of the successful applicants who have been awarded a bursary from the Journalism Diversity Fund to help support him through his NCTJ training. He has secured a place on Ulster University’s prestigious MA journalism programme, which he will start in September.

Daniel suffers from Autism Spectrum Disorder and despite the myriad of challenges he has faced throughout his life due to his condition it has not stopped him from attaining the highest degree of academic success in his undergraduate course in journalism at Ulster University. It is the positive characteristics that come with autism such as creativity, attention to detail and exceptionally good verbal communication skills that will enable him to bring diversity to a newsroom.

Alisa Wylie

Alisa Wylie has been writing since she was young. She is passionate about journalism and about bringing diversity to a newsroom. In August, she will be starting the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism at Glasgow Clyde College. As a bisexual woman, she believes it is of utmost importance to bring a queer voice to a newsroom.

TESTIMONIAL

“The bursary changed my life. In just over a year I’ve gone from working in a call centre to working as a reporter at the HuffPost, I couldn’t be happier.” Connor Parker, 2017 recipient

2020-21 bursary recipients

Find out about each of our bursary recipients for 2020-21 below.

Sunita Ghosh Dastidar

Ribeka Seyoum

Yusuf Malik

Joanna Crawford

Jenna Abaakouk

Isabelle Dipti Jani-Friend

Hamzah Khalique-Loonat

Georgia Lambert

Emily-Jane Heap

Eleanor Shearwood

Christopher Brackin

Anya Ryan

Anita Bhadani

Amal Abdi

Zeynel Yuce

Sophie Perry

Sophia Hall

Siham Ali

Sharmeen Ziauddin

Rory Jones

Nevzat Savas

Naomi Clarke

Mesgana Sintayehu

Libby Shaw

Lia Desai

Kasra Moradi

Jordan Beck

Dayna Latham

Daniel Goldstraw

Daniel Fessahaye

Xenia Huntley

Toby Bryant

Sophie Woods

Sanny Rudravajhala

Sam Ormiston

Robyn Davidson

Ria Hylton

Poppy Koronka

Piriyanga Thirunimalan

May Woods

Malyun Mohamud

Lee Davey

Leanne Hall

Jess Phillips

Gemma Bradley

Eve Tawfick

Declan Carey

Aaliyah Harry

Ruby Gregory

Reiss Tigwell

Rebecca Cooley

Omar Baig-Garrick

Olive Enokido-Lineham

Neha Gohil

Kat Hoare

Jessica Morris

Emily Withers

Courtney McLaven-Whittle

Ahisha Ghafoor

Sunita Ghosh Dastidar

Sunita will be studying with News Associates in Twickenham, with a keen interest in Broadcast Journalism.

So far, she has interned with BBC Digital Planet, and worked on a prime-time BBC 1 documentary, The Truth About… She is also Community Editor for The Tees.

Sunita is a mixed-race working class woman from Middlesbrough, famously ranked as one of the worst places to be a girl. She hopes to fairly represent the North-East, which is often unfairly represented within the media.

She says she is incredibly grateful to the Journalism Diversity Fund for opportunities she would have been unable to access without their support.

Ribeka Seyoum

Since graduating with a history degree from King’s College London, Ribeka has worked for Riverside Radio, a local community radio station where she currently holds the position of deputy news editor. She also conducts research for the Young Historian Project and has gained experience at national news organisations including Channel 4 News.

Ribeka is interested in investigative journalism, current affairs programmes and documentaries. Her ambition is to help diversify the newsroom beyond those we see on camera. She is keen to bring untold stories to light, and hopes the fast-track Multimedia Journalism course at News Associates which she will begin in February 2021, will help her to do so.

Yusuf Malik

Yusuf is a graduate from Loughborough University having studied a Sports Marketing MSc. Yusuf is passionate about increasing the diversity in the sports media for South Asians. He hopes that his endeavour to pursue a career as a successful journalist can act as an inspiration to young South Asians who may feel disconnected from the sports media due to their under representation.

He will be studying on the NCTJ-accredited News diploma course at Press Association. Yusuf says he is incredibly grateful for the support of the JDF as he would not have been able to take his place on the course without their support. He encourages those of all backgrounds to take the leap and pursue a career in journalism, especially those from a diverse socio-economic or ethnic background.

Joanna Crawford

Joanna has championed the cause of neurodiversity since creating a documentary at 17, challenging preconceptions of dyslexia. Witnessing her impact through storytelling, from speaking in Parliament to producing videos, Joanna wants to be a journalist to provide a platform for the voices of the unheard.

Joanna is excited to start her course at PA training, and wants to go into digital and video journalism. Having volunteered in the Samos refugee camp, worked for the UN in Guinea-Bissau, and now a writer for the IWI; Joanna hopes to continue reporting on conflicts and crises, making these subjects more accessible for all.

Jenna Abaakouk

Jenna will be starting her NCTJ-accredited course in multimedia journalism at News Associates London in February. Whilst teaching in Colombia, she discovered a passion for journalism, volunteering at UMNG Radio and reporting for The Bogotá Post newspaper.

Due to her dual heritage background and bilingual upbringing, Jenna has been exposed to various nationalities, languages, cultures and religions from a young age. This has helped her to recognise the importance and value of different perspectives.

Jenna has expressed her extreme gratitude to the Journalism Diversity Fund for this opportunity. Coming from a low-income family, she understands the huge positive impact that financial support can have.

Isabelle Dipti Jani-Friend

Since graduating in 2019, Isabelle has been working as a freelance journalist with articles in a number of nationals including the Guardian and the Independent. Thanks to the help of the JDF she will be completing her News diploma course with Press Association.

As a mixed-race, disabled woman Isabelle wants to help diversify the media and elevate underrepresented voices. As someone with an invisible illness she wants to continue to highlight disability discrimination and fight for an accessible and accommodating society for disabled people.

After completing her NCTJ, Isabelle wants to become a health reporter.

Hamzah Khalique-Loonat

Hamzah is a Master’s graduate from UCL, where he studied History. Born in Walsall, Hamzah is from a Muslim family of both Indian and Pakistani origin. His studies and cultural background have fostered a keen interest in issues of class, racism and particularly the effect of decolonisation on Britain. He is also especially interested in the intersectionality of sport and politics.

From January, Hamzah will be studying towards the NCTJ diploma in journalism, with Press Association Training. Hamzah says he is extremely grateful for this opportunity, as he would not have been able to study without the support and generosity of the JDF.

Georgia Lambert

Georgia is a proud member of the disabled community. Instead of graduating from university, she had brain surgery to treat a life-changing condition. While navigating chronic pain, Georgia built up her portfolio as a freelancer alongside her rehabilitation. This experience took her to West Africa, where she worked in ethical garment production. In Ghana, she started a blog called 33 Degrees, where she continues to explore sustainability and inclusivity in business. Georgia is thrilled to enrol on the NCTJ news and magazine fast-track diploma with PA Training in January 2021 and is very grateful for the JDF for choosing to support her.

Emily-Jane Heap

Emily-Jane Heap is a recent graduate from the University of Exeter with a first-class degree in English. She will now be studying for an NCTJ qualification with News Associates in London. Throughout her time at university Emily-Jane gained experience with The Tab and has more recently had freelance work published with VICE.

She is keen to bring diversity to a newsroom through her position as a woman from a low-income background, who has grown up witnessing serious illness and disability within her immediate family. She intends to use her insight to give a voice to underrepresented groups in society.

Eleanor Shearwood

Eleanor graduated from Durham University in 2020 with a modern languages degree. Whilst studying, she devoted her free time to involving herself in student journalism wherever possible and undertook work experience placements with organisations such as the BBC. She is thrilled to be starting an NCTJ-accredited diploma in multimedia journalism with News Associates in London in February 2021 and is grateful to the JDF for making this possible.

She hopes that, through building on her journalistic skillset, she will be able to use her experience of mental health difficulties and disability to contribute to a more balanced and diverse media.

Christopher Brackin

After being raised by a single, working-class mother in a community rife with social issues, Chris spent the past decade teaching and volunteering abroad. During this period, he witnessed other types of abuse. He wants to bring his life experience and perspective into newsrooms and build a diverse platform for marginalised and downtrodden communities.

Chris is committed to investigating and highlighting the injustices that have plagued him and his international network. With the JDF’s help, he will take his first steps to becoming a multimedia foreign correspondent by studying for his NCTJ diploma at PA Training.

Anya Ryan

After working at the BBC for two years and writing for the likes of Huffpost and The Metro, Anya is now looking to take her next steps in the world of journalism. She’ll be studying on the fast track NCTJ course at News Associates in Twickenham. As a member of the BAME community, she hopes to champion diverse stories and will use her platform as a journalist to give voice to those who are often overlooked in society.

Anita Bhadani

Anita is a graduate of Human Rights and International Politics, based in Glasgow. She has experience working in local and national journalism, and in communications in the third sector. As a Scottish-Indian woman with socialist politics, Anita wants to bring a unique voice to journalism: providing a platform for underserved communities to be heard on their own terms, and confronting the root issues which perpetuate societal inequalities.  Thanks to the JDF, she will be undertaking the NCTJ diploma (Fast Track) at Glasgow Clyde College in 2021 part time. Anita hopes to use this opportunity to eventually enter into a career specialising in public service and investigative forms of journalism.

Amal Abdi

Amal became seriously interested in journalism while at university, where she studied English and history at Royal Holloway, University of London. After becoming involved in student media and being digital editor of her university magazine, she decided to pursue it as a career. Since graduating, Amal has worked as a freelance art and culture writer where she often writes about the intersections of race and gender with art, particularly in film. Her work has been featured in The Evening Standard, Refinery29 and gal-dem. She hopes to broaden her journalism knowledge as she takes the part-time NCTJ accredited course at News Associates in multimedia journalism.

Zeynel Yuce

Zeynel is currently working at LBC Radio and will be studying the NCTJ part-time multimedia journalism diploma at News Associates London from October.

He currently works at LBC Radio in multiple capacities. His work at the station has given him extensive experience in the production and planning of some of the UK’s most popular radio programmes. By taking the NCTJ course, Zeynel hopes to develop skills that will enhance his journalistic work.

Zeynel is a first-generation immigrant from a working-class family and the first in his family to have graduated from university. He hopes to add diversity of thought and perspective to journalism, particularly in relation to reporting on international affairs. He is immensely grateful for the personal support of the JDF along with its wider commitment to diversifying journalism.

Sophie Perry

Sophie Perry is a born-and-bred Black Country girl who graduated from King’s College London with an MA in contemporary literature, culture and theory in January 2020. She is passionate about arts, culture, and LGBTQ+ news and journalism; specialist sectors she hopes to one day work in.

Sophie will begin her NCTJ-accredited course at City of Wolverhampton College in September 2020. She hopes to make the newsroom more diverse by bringing the perspectives and needs of LGBTQ+ and working-class people the forefront of discussions.

Sophia Hall

Recently named as an international ‘Top Talent under 25’, Sophia is a multimedia journalism student at News Associates London. Alongside completing the course part-time, she is the founder and co-host of Who cares about Research, an award-winning podcast dedicated to disseminating academic social research to a wider audience, and partnerships manager for the music streaming service, Vialma. As the first care experienced person to graduate from Jesus College, University of Oxford, she is an outspoken advocate for young people with lived experience and hopes to use the skills gained on the NCTJ qualification to continue platforming their voices through journalism.

Siham Ali

Siham graduated with an English BA from Queen Mary University of London back in 2017. With a passion for storytelling, she’s been working in-house and as a freelance journalist and editor. She has featured in gal-dem, Roundtable Journal, Lecture in Progress, It’s Nice That, and more. Siham will be embarking on the fast-track multimedia course at News Associates in London. Hoping to specialise in investigative and news journalism, Siham aims to produce work that brings minority communities to the forefront. She will bring diversity to any newsroom by tapping into her own experiences as a working-class Black woman in Britain.

Sharmeen Ziauddin

Sharmeen is returning to university after 19 years to do a master’s in journalism at Kingston University. She is interested in broadcast and print journalism having had experience in both.

Muslim women have been identified as a ‘hard to reach’ community, they are written about abundantly but their voices aren’t often heard. Sharmeen wants to change this by bringing some positive news stories to the forefront, and through her lived experience as a mature student, provide an alternative view. She is passionate about politics, religion and social justice issues and is grateful to the JDF for the support.

Rory Jones

Rory is an English literature graduate from the University of Glasgow and will start an MA in multimedia journalism at Glasgow Caledonian University in October.

He has worked on student newspapers, interned at The Local and The Big Issue, and contributed to several publications on a freelance basis.

As a first-generation university graduate from Stockton-on-Tees, Rory is particularly interested in issues of regional inequality and hopes to write about regeneration, housing, and communities.

Nevzat Savas

Nevzat Savas, aged 47, is studying for his NCTJ diploma at City of Wolverhampton College. He chose this course because it is the best way to improve his journalistic skills and find the best opportunities to get an excellent job in the industry. He grew up in a Turkish and Arabic culture at the same time. So, he knows that diversity is wealth that enables us to see the world from different perspectives. He will do his best to enrich the newsroom with news, views and analysis that reflects the culture he comes from, and he will also enhance the Arab and Turkish media with the experience he will have from the NCTJ.

Naomi Clarke

Originally from Belfast, Naomi recently graduated from Durham University with an English literature BA.

Through growing up as a carer for her special needs sister, she developed a passion for the welfare of others and utilises the platform of journalism to speak out on social inequality, mental health, and disability.

She explored these topics whilst heading the news teams of the student newspaper and radio station, Palatinate and Purple Radio, and received the Best Journalistic Programming Award at the SRAs and was shortlisted for Best Human Rights Journalist by the SPAs.

She is incredibly grateful to the JDF for helping her pursue her NCTJ diploma at News Associates, London so she can continue to champion these issues and to bring another Northern Irish voice to the national news desks.

Mesgana Sintayehu

Mesgana Sintayehu is a presenter, producer and news reader at Riverside Radio. She presents, produces and reports on News Show; Riverside Reports where they cover South-West London based stories from Wandsworth, Merton, Richmond and Lambeth. She has also obtained journalism experience with the likes of Female Lead, The Media Trust and has created her own news-focused YouTube channel and a podcast to further her skills.

Through the content Mesgana produces, she hopes to bring to light injustices and unseen realities, hidden within communities. In addition, she longs to bring new perspectives into the news media and aims to use her voice as a mouthpiece for truth and hope in her generation. She aspires to become a news correspondent then news anchor for a top news cooperation.

Mesgana will be undertaking her NCTJ studies with News Associates London.

Libby Shaw

Libby is a lively, personable and driven individual. Her background in language and cultural studies means that new opportunities are always greeted with a curious nature and an open mind. Libby will be commencing her studies on the MA journalism course at the University of Sheffield in October 2020. Her diversity stems from her upbringing as a female living in a crime and poverty-ridden area of Doncaster. Her working-class roots have gifted her with a cynical but equally empathetic eye when it comes to issues within society such as discrimination and corruption.

Lia Desai

Lia will be studying at the University of Sheffield, working towards a master’s in journalism and the NCTJ diploma. After undertaking work experience at BBC CWR and producing content for BBC Sounds, she was determined to build a career in broadcast journalism.

Lia previously volunteered at a community-run radio station that encouraged vulnerable youth to develop skills in radio/video production and helped low-income adults and non-English speakers gain communication and employability skills.

As a British Asian from a working-class background, Lia is eager to highlight the strengths of smaller, less represented communities within the UK through accurate reporting.

Kasra Moradi

Kasra is a history graduate from The University of Southampton and will be starting the sports multimedia journalism course at News Associates in September. Being a football writer who specialises in features, he has worked as a freelance journalist for websites Planet Football and SportsMole.

Kasra hopes to bring some much-needed diversity to sports journalism through his ethnicity and less privileged background. Having been presented this opportunity by the JDF, he hopes to cover more of the issues that have been overlooked in the past and offer future support to aspiring BAME journalists so that they too receive fair opportunities.

Jordan Beck

Jordan is an English graduate from a small town in County Durham and dreams of becoming a showbiz journalist. He spent three years writing for fan-site Coronation Street Blog, where he recapped episodes, and gained golden experience interviewing actors at press days. He has also written for Talk About Pop Music, Apple Magazine and reviewed theatre.

Jordan suffers from dyspraxia and hopes to use journalism to raise awareness of the overlooked disorder which massively affects co-ordination and has seen him traumatise six driving instructors.

Thanks to the JDF, Jordan will now be able to study at News Associates Manchester.

Dayna Latham

Dayna Latham is a 24 year old disabled journalist from Staffordshire with an unconventional
background. Dayna is starting an NCTJ diploma with News Associates in Manchester as of
October 2020 after a year of freelancing and three years of community organising. Dayna’s
journalistic interests are broad, and she has covered many topics from sports, to grassroots
movements, to Westminster and policy. Her career goal is to start a news outlet of her own.

Daniel Goldstraw

Daniel, 25, is a politics graduate from the University of York and is originally from the Calder Valley area in West Yorkshire. Having been interested in writing and the creative arts since childhood, with a particular passion for politics, film and television, journalism seemed the natural career choice upon graduating. Daniel has undertaken extensive work experience with news sites like The Overtake and Cultured Vultures, but a career in journalism nevertheless resembled a closed shop due to his lacking the financial resources to gain the expected NCTJ qualifications. The JDF has therefore been vital to helping him break into the industry.

Daniel Fessahaye

Daniel, who is from Islington, North London, graduated from Queen Mary University with a degree in English literature. He has a background in sports journalism and radio however he is now looking to transition into reporting on news and current affairs. He is very thankful for the opportunity that the JDF has given him with this fund and is eager to make a difference in the newsroom. Coming from an ethnic minority background Daniel is looking to represent those who are not currently being represented in the newsroom and report on issues of inequality that continues to occur all over the world.

Xenia Huntley

Xenia is passionate about equality, and it was this passion that led her to challenge ageism and secure a radio presenting job when she was just 15. Proudly choosing work experience over a degree, she has worked in media for over 15 years. A single mother to two young sons, Xenia fled severe domestic abuse in 2016. Extreme financial hardship ensued. Xenia’s life experiences are hugely diverse; from living on the road with travellers, to representing litigants in person in court, and are sure to enrich any newsroom. Xenia will study with PA Training in London to gain her NCTJ qualification.

Toby Bryant

After gaining experience with sports desks at the likes of Daily Mirror and Daily Mail, as well as inside organisations such as British Rowing, FourFourTwo magazine and Crystal Palace F.C., Toby now looks to take his next steps in journalism with a particular interest in the world of sport. A recent first-class graduate from Newcastle University with a degree in Combined Honours (English literature, French and Spanish), Toby will studying for an NCTJ qualification with News Associates in Twickenham. A member of the LGBTQ+ community, Toby hopes to champion marginalised stories through sports reporting.

Sophie Woods

Sophie Woods graduated from the University of Kent with a degree in film studies. She decided to change her career from a background in television working in entry level roles on factual TV shows. Sophie is passionate about child protection issues, animal welfare and women’s rights. As a journalist she wants to investigate child abuse in order to prevent it. She will be embarking on a fast-track NCTJ accredited course at News Associates in multimedia journalism. Sophie comes from a working-class background and has fled domestic violence and lived in a women’s refuge.

Sanny Rudravajhala

As a science teacher, Sanny has been informing, educating and entertaining whilst also working as freelance broadcast journalist for BBC Radio Manchester. Currently, he is making a podcast series for BBC Sounds following his beloved Bury FC. Sanny also runs the community-driven Radio Northenden which has been backed by the Manchester City Council Neighbourhood Investment Fund.

Sanny draws strength from his experiences of childhood bereavement, hardship and racism to seek to give a platform to the underrepresented in our society. The 34 year-old father of one will be studying for a master’s in broadcast journalism at the University of Salford.

Sam Ormiston

After graduating recently from the University of Stirling in Scotland, Sam is set to start the fast-track multimedia journalism course at News Associates Manchester in September. While at university, he completed multiple work experience placements in newsrooms, which ignited his passion for the industry. After being raised by a single mother in rural Scotland for much of his life, Sam is keen to tackle some of the social barriers which prevent people from breaking into journalism. And as a young bisexual, he wants to play his part in ensuring newsrooms are inclusive places for everyone.

Robyn Davidson

Robyn graduated from Loughborough University with a degree in psychology. She will now start working towards her NCTJ diploma on the multimedia sports journalism course at News Associates in Manchester. Robyn has experience working as a freelance journalist in baseball and cycling, covering the Drops Cycling team and being the social media manager for the Women’s Tour of Scotland. She is keen to bring diversity to the newsroom through her experiences as a woman. Such a perspective allowed her to cover Women in Baseball Week for Baseball Prospectus, interviewing reporter Julia Morales on the importance of representation.

Ria Hylton

Ria is a south Londoner with a background in broadcast, print and digital journalism. After graduating from Cambridge University and working in the education sector, they moved to Germany and became involved in the media. They worked as a broadcast journalist, music journalist and regular correspondent for both local and international news outlets, and produced a short documentary on femicide.

Ria is trans, of Afro-Caribbean descent and a first-generation university graduate. They will begin the fast-track NCTJ course at News Associates in September and hope to bring diversity to the newsroom by widening conversations around underrepresented issues.

Poppy Koronka

Poppy is a recent graduate from the University of Edinburgh and will be starting the News Associates fast-track course in London in September.

Poppy has a passion for broadcast journalism and investigative stories. She has an ambition to report internationally and has so far gained work experience as a journalist in Bolivia, China, and Japan, through funded internships and freelance work. In January 2020, Poppy undertook an internship at CNN International, working on TV and digital features.

Poppy is extremely grateful for the support of the Journalism Diversity Fund. As Poppy is from a low-income background, she would not be able to complete her NCTJ diploma in September without this support.

Piriyanga Thirunimalan

Piriyanga is a history graduate who, thanks to the help of the Journalism Diversity Fund, will be studying on the NCTJ-accredited multimedia journalism course at News Associates London. She has showcased her passion for journalism through her work in a variety of newspapers and magazines including the Royist and the Tamil Guardian. Piriyanga writes at length about political, cultural, and socio-economic issues that face BAME communities. She hopes to bring diversity to the newsroom by bringing issues facing BAME communities to light and by helping to solve the lack of media coverage of conflicts occurring in the Global South.

May Woods

Hailing from a small village in Lincolnshire, May’s first taste of journalism came at the age of 17 when she began writing an opinion column, amplifying youth issues for her local newspaper. Since then, May has been passionate about writing for and about young people, and has been determined to pursue a career in journalism despite the financial obstacles she has faced.

She currently works at a West London based newspaper, where she writes features, news and social content as well as assisting with marketing efforts. May is particularly interested in solutions journalism, the resurgence of hyperlocal and community reporting, and in the growth of positive news movements. She is mostly looking forward to expanding her digital and video skillset, and building on her investigative skills.

The JDF has given May an opportunity to study that would have otherwise been entirely out of reach. As such, May is determined to use her voice to continue to call for diversification of the media, and to use her newly acquired skills for positive social impact: be that through documentary making or feature writing. 

Malyun Mohamud

Coming to the UK as a refugee, Malyun hopes to offer her point of view on issues such as race, religion, and culture. As a Black Muslim female who comes from a low-income family, she felt that it would, inevitably, be hard to pursue a career as a broadcast journalist. With the help of the JDF, she is going to study the multimedia journalism course at News Associates. Malyun has a particular interest in documentaries and wants to investigate international ethnographic issues. She would like people of colour to comfortably share their stories. Malyun is determined to see newsrooms which give a voice to minority ethnic groups despite their socioeconomic status.

Lee Davey

Lee is a sport and exercise science graduate and qualified teacher and will attend the multimedia journalism course at News Associates London in October. 

His expertise comes in the form of European football and he has been writing for six years. Lee’s work has been published on various sports websites and for regional newspapers including The Chronicle

He aims to bring diversity to a newsroom through ethnicity, prompting new ideas and ways of thinking as well as communicating the nuances that sometimes go identified, particularly in sensitive topics. 

Lee hopes that his story will one day inspire others. 

Leanne Hall

Leanne is a BA journalism graduate from the University of Westminster and is thrilled to start the News Associates multimedia journalism course in London next year. Born in Kent, to a low-income family, Leanne would like to challenge the negative media representations of working-class Britain and help give a voice to marginalised communities like hers. She has completed work experience at Cosmopolitan UK and MyLondon, both of which have strengthened her determination to succeed in the industry. Leanne is incredibly thankful for the support from the Journalism Diversity Fund as she embarks on her journalism career.

Jess Phillips

Jess is an English literature graduate from Lancaster University, who will complete her fast-track NCTJ course at the City of Liverpool College. She previously worked at Local Life magazines in Wigan, where she gained invaluable experience interviewing local people, along with pitching and writing community-based features. Jess comes from a low-income background, and is incredibly grateful to the JDF for giving her the chance to study for her NCTJ. She has a particular interest in investigative journalism, and hopes to put her love of documentaries and long-form journalism into practice one day.

Gemma Bradley

Gemma Bradley has just been accepted onto an NCTJ-accredited course at News Associates Manchester. However, without the help of the Journalism Diversity Fund, she would not have been able to afford the course. She was raised in a single parent, working-class household with limited opportunities, but still attended Loreto Grammar School, and then the University of Leeds, leaving with a 2:1. This range of experience has enabled Gemma to assimilate into any social circle and ensure those around her are comfortable and open, a skill that is priceless in a newsroom.

Eve Tawfick

Eve Tawfick is a 28-year-old single mother. Pursuing her career in journalism has been fraught with difficulties both financially and practically. Despite trying to juggle the responsibilities of being a parent, Eve completed her degree last year and did a freelance stint at her local paper. The NCTJ will propel her forward on the path to success and she couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity.

Declan Carey

Declan grew up in Manchester and was born with severe haemophilia. He will study part-time at News Associates in London to develop a career in political journalism – asking tough questions and being a voice for people with disabilities. He studied English at Keele University and worked abroad for the British Council in both the Czech Republic and Spain. He has written for The Guardian, and hosts the Redaction Politics weekly podcast.

Aaliyah Harry

Aaliyah is an English literature graduate. Her passion for journalism began after writing and podcasting at her university’s student media centre.

After graduating she went on to write and create social media content for The Voice Newspaper. Aaliyah wrote about race, youth, mental health, the arts and highlighted community affairs within minority ethnic groups. She has also gained experience at Grazia, Hearst Magazines and BBC Click.

Aaliyah loves unearthing underrepresented voices and amplifying them to tell moving stories.
She wants to pursue a career in investigative or broadcast journalism and will be studying the multimedia course at News Associates London.

Ruby Gregory

Ruby, 22, graduated with a film studies degree last year. Ruby is passionate about community values and the issues many face regarding health and socioeconomic factors. Her final year dissertation allowed her to research across race studies, gender studies and psychoanalytical studies. She has written articles about mental health and youth charities that are published in her local paper The Brixton Bugle.

She loves documentaries, as it inspires her to use her own investigative skills to uncover new and interesting stories. She comes from a varied background and wishes for more diversity to be evident in the newsroom. She will be studying at News Associates London in September 2020 and wants to pursue a career in either investigative or broadcast journalism. Ruby would one day like to use her platform to help and inspire others to have a career in journalism.

Reiss Tigwell

Reiss grew up in a working class family and was raised by a single mother for much of his life. Reiss wants to prove that income should not be a barrier to advancement, and feels that everybody should have a fair and equal chance. As such, he aims to help get more working class people into the industry. Whilst at University, Reiss has gained practical reporting experience, first with non-league clubs and local publications, before moving to freelance work for a number of different London newspapers including News Shopper, where he regularly covers various Premier League and Championship teams.

Rebecca Cooley

Following her upcoming graduation from studying history at the University of Liverpool, Rebecca will undertake the multimedia journalism course at News Associates in Manchester. The Journalism Diversity Fund bursary allows Rebecca to pursue her dream of becoming a journalist despite coming from a low-income, working class family. Rebecca will bring diversity to the newsroom not only by coming from an underrepresented social class but also having experienced somewhat of a difficult upbringing that gives her a unique insight into problematic domestic settings. She will use her platform as a journalist to give a voice to people experiencing hardship and trying to better themselves.

Omar Baig-Garrick

Omar dreams of becoming a journalist. He has tried to choose an applicable pathway to achieve his goals in becoming a writer. On his journey, Omar has equipped himself with skills relating to journalism. Coinciding with his undergraduate journalism degree at Cardiff University, Omar’s had work experience at The Guardian, hosted a show on Xpress radio and regularly presents on a football related YouTube channel with 40,000 subscribers. Along with this, he writes about football and has an appetite for this area of interest. Omar hopes to bring diversity through his ethnicity and less affluent background. He’ll be starting the NCTJ news journalism course at Cardiff University in September.

Olive Enokido-Lineham

Olive is a politics graduate from The University of Sheffield and will start the fast-track NCTJ course with News Associates in September.

She has had prior experience at news organisations like Reuters, which led her to securing the position of runner for their UK news team at the royal wedding in 2018 and placements with other organisations like the BBC. Alongside this, Olive has contributed to gal-dem magazine as a freelance journalist and has experience in student radio. She hopes to develop a career in broadcast and is particularly interested in both investigative and political journalism, and issues of social justice.

Olive is immensely grateful for the support from the JDF and is committed to supporting and encouraging more young women into the industry during her career, particularly those from less privileged backgrounds and of East Asian descent.

Neha Gohil

Born and bred in West London, Neha graduated from the University of Warwick in 2020 with a degree in history and politics. As a British Indian, she is eager to increase the diversity and representation of ethnic minorities in the journalism industry. Neha has undertaken work experience with regional news outlets and was deputy editor of the award-winning student newspaper, The Boar. She has also appeared on BBC Radio 5 and BBC Asian Network radio shows debating current affairs. As an aspiring political journalist, she is determined to ensure the media provides a voice for the under-represented.

Kat Hoare

Kat is a fifty-something single mother to two teenage girls, who currently works for her local council in Brighton. Having written local news stories for Brighton Journal and Brighton & Hove News, she also gained work experience at JPIMedia’s Worthing Herald. She is now thrilled to have started her course at Highbury College to pursue her passion for news and investigative journalism. As a single mother by choice, she has a personal connection and interest in fertility issues and is grateful for the JDF bursary to allow her to represent older women in the newsroom.

Jessica Morris

Jessica is due to graduate from her business studies degree this year and will be commencing her MA journalism studies at the University of Sheffield in September. Raised in a low-income, single parent household Jessica is a single mother of a toddler and is a survivor of servere domestic abuse. She is a first-generation university graduate and hopes to open up crucial cultural conversations through her journalism. Jessica is interested in socio-cultural issues which affect the vulnerable in society and hopes to create positive effect change in society through her work, especially for those whose voices are subject to abuse and oppression. She is extremely grateful that the JDF has chosen to support her.

Emily Withers

Emily Withers will be graduating from Cardiff University in July with a BA in English literature and history and will then enrol on MA news journalism at Cardiff in September. She has completed work experience at Wales Online and the South Wales Argus and looks forward to further placements over the coming months. She is a first-generation university graduate from a working-class background in the West Midlands. Emily looks forward to bringing a different perspective to the newsroom once she graduates.

Courtney McLaven-Whittle

Courtney has always been an avid writer, leading her to study English literature at Royal Holloway, University of London where she wrote for the university newspaper and found her passion for journalism. She has now been offered a place to study for an MA in news journalism at Nottingham Trent University and feels extremely appreciative of the opportunity the Journalism Diversity Fund has given her. Coming from a working-class family, she knows she will be able to bring her own experiences into a newsroom and represent those who are often portrayed unfairly in the media. She has also overcome an array of mental health problems. This again is something she wants to use as a future news reporter to create positive articles for marginalised groups to feel that they are portrayed without prejudice.

Ahisha Ghafoor

Ahisha will be developing her career as a journalist after having worked at the British Council and the BBC. Since studying Arabic and Middle Eastern studies she has taken a keen interest in the region. As a polyglot, she speaks five languages and is currently learning the Syrian dialect. She is recognised for her skills in building rapport with communities and organisations. She will be studying her NCTJ with News Associates in Manchester where she is based. Once qualified, Ahisha hopes to use her writing to inspire critical reflection and social impact.

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