Scroll down to find out more about the bursary recipients due to start their journalism courses in the September 2018 – August 2019 academic year.

Cohort one

Sharmin Akhtar

Sharmin Akhtar

Sharmin is a British-Asian Muslim whose passion for journalism came about whilst studying for her degree in international relations. However, the more she wanted to pursue her dream of becoming a news reporter, the more she realised that women like her – brown skin and visibly Muslim – were not reflected in the media industry. This is why she believes that more women of colour and of different religions should be represented in the newsroom, especially at a time where Islamaphobia, racism and anti-semitism centres a contemporary national debate.



Solape Alatise

Solape Alatise

Solape Alatise, who comes from a working class black household, is about to graduate from Aston University with a degree in politics and sociology. She is a budding journalist who seeks to bring diversity to the field by giving a voice to different communities and their successes through her work. Solape has a real passion for political journalism and is especially fond of developing stories that cover the US, Africa and the UK. She aspires to be a news reporter, reporting live for the BBC.



Matthew Ford

Matthew Ford

Matthew grew up in a large working class family, living in social housing on a council estate, and believes income should not be a barrier to advancement. Since the age of 14, Matthew has gained practical reporting experience, firstly covering Northwood FC and latterly progressing to freelance work and work experience placements with two Watford publications, WD Sport and the Watford Observer, covering Watford FC and Leyton Orient FC. Completing a degree in history at the University of Edinburgh in 2018, Matthew held various positions at several of the university’s media societies.



Yusuf Khan

Yusuf Khan

Yusuf is currently in his final year at Cardiff University studying history and economics. Over the last two years, Yusuf has been writing for student news site The Tab and in his final year of university became the editor of the site. His work for the site has included university drop-out rates based on ethnicity, exposing cases of racism at university, and identifying the Eurocentric approach that University courses often take. Coming from a minority himself, Yusuf is particularly determined to tell the stories of diverse people who do not often have the opportunity to talk about their experiences, or issues they have been facing.



Adam Sonin

Adam Sonin

Adam Sonin is a freelance journalist and former financial engineer who comes from a mixed race background. During his thirties, and after fighting for a diagnosis, he discovered he has anxiety and is on the autism spectrum. He has written and contributed for the Ham & High, Jewish Chronicle, BBC Radio London 94.9, Time Out, The Times and contributed material to BBC. He holds an MSc from CASS Business School and a BSc from the University of Manchester.



Cohort Two

Chloe Adams

Chloe Adams is a 42-year-old mother of two living in East Ayrshire, Scotland. As a young single mother, she juggled busy family life and study commitments to train as a photographer, firstly attending college in Dumfries, and then Edinburgh. Chloe looks forward to diversifying her skills base and hopes this will make her better equipped to continue to progress within the changing landscape of the modern journalism workplace. Chloe is delighted the NCTJ has chosen to support her in this decision by awarding her the Journalism Diversity Fund bursary, which has been integral in her ability to facilitate her studies.

Adelina Adjei

Raised on a South London council estate by a single parent, Adelina graduated with a degree in biomedical sciences and started a career in the healthcare/pharmaceutical industry. As a British-born Ghanaian, Adelina became frustrated by stereotypical narratives of black people in the mainstream media, which became the inspiration for her blog. Passionate about telling underrepresented stories and bringing the voices of ethnic minorities (among others) to the mainstream media, her writing has resonated online. Adelina also co-created the first Africa Utopia Festival magazine for the Southbank Centre London.

Andrew Andronicou

Andrew has always been passionate about journalism and its power to reach people. He strongly feels the media can be enriched by including more diverse voices as they bring unique perspectives that can reach out and draw in a larger audience. In the workplace, his Greek-Cypriot heritage has allowed him to share insights with his colleagues so they can more sensitively handle racial and religious issues which they might otherwise be blind to. Andrew’s special interest is in technology, digital entertainment and science journalism. He believes that tech plays a pivotal role in any serious media organisation because it reports on the innovations that will shape how readers live their lives.

Kamilla Baiden

Kamilla, who comes from a mixed British and Ghanaian background, is a born and bred inner-city Londoner, with a passion for sharing stories from those with marginalised voices. Since working in the media, Kamilla began to realise that people from minority backgrounds were poorly represented both on and off screen. Since giving birth to a son last year and returning to work, Kamilla began to notice the even greater difficulties faced to women and mothers within the workplace - more specifically women of colour. Having produced content for online, TV and radio, Kamilla would like to merge her production and journalistic skills to become a credible reporter within the industry.

Kathryn Batte

Kathryn has long had an interest in journalism, writing news articles since school and continuing this into university. She has always been sports orientated, playing and watching football from an early age, and wants to combine this with her passion for journalism. Kathryn’s media experience includes being sports editor for her student radio station at the University of York as well as spending a week with the Hull Daily Mail and working with BBC Radio Humberside. As well as the need to increase the amount of female faces and voices in sports journalism, Kathryn believes there is also a need for more northern journalists in the national news.

Yasemin Craggs Mersinoglu

Yasemin is an international relations and global issues graduate from the University of Nottingham. As a female dyslexic journalist of mixed ethnicity from a working class background, Yasemin is committed to representing and reaching these groups through her work in the media. She would like to cover social justice issues such as discrimination and inequality as well as the intersections of identity, race, class, gender, disability and sexuality in culture and sport. In addition, Yasemin wants to incorporate more audio and visual content in order to make journalism more accessible to those with lower literacy levels and appeal to those who currently find it too dense and impenetrable.

Josephine Fay

Josephine’s father was a foreign correspondent for the Ghana News Agency. Her first story was written after she’d borrowed his press pass to go and interview demonstrators outside the South African Embassy during the 1980s as they chanted “Free Nelson Mandela”. Josephine has worked in local and national radio offices, however she suffered from a mental health breakdown shortly after giving birth to her son and it took her nearly fifteen years to recover. Josephine hopes to be able to begin her career in local news and then to develop a career in national news and broadcasting focusing on social inequality, a subject close to her heart.

Timothy Gallagher

After growing up in a small, ex-mining area in the East Midlands Timothy was motivated to study social anthropology at the University of Manchester, to learn as much as possible about society and the causes of social inequality. Timothy has completed a journalism placement abroad at the Fiji Times, Fiji’s principle newspaper. Timothy hopes to combine his anthropological knowledge with journalistic skills to write about social and political issues, whether this is in the form of reporting, documentary making, or feature writing. Timothy is especially eager to bring a queer perspective to his work, and introduce a wider audience to the liberating qualities of being non-conformist.

Jess Glass

Jess Glass started work in journalism as an arts reporter for Warwick University’s student paper The Boar during their undergraduate sociology degree. They later went on to study an MA in gender studies part-time, finishing the course at the end of August 2018. Jess has written extensively about transgender rights in the UK, including notable investigations into anti-trans campaigners informed by their own experiences of being non-binary. Jess has a particular interest in social and political issues, namely topics of LGBTQ+ rights, health, education and class, much of which is heavily influenced by their own experiences of being an orphan from a working class background.

Kumail Jaffer

Having recently graduated from the University of Warwick with a degree in politics, philosophy and economics, Kumail is looking to enter the world of journalism in order to voice his unique perspective in the (occasionally) monolithic press. As a Muslim and a minority, issues such as race relations, postcolonialism, foreign policy and worldwide progressive movements stand out as key societal topics to be analysed, dissected and debated over - and for such discussions to be fruitful, Kumail feels that more journalists and writers from minority backgrounds are needed.

Shardell Joseph

Shardell Joseph, who comes from a working class background, has had a long-standing interest in journalism since studying for her degree in international relations. As a mixed race women, Shardell has focused on highlighting issues of both racial and gender inequality and she plans to use her passion for media and journalism to help propel these issues to the forefront of social and political dialogue. Gaining experience through interning and freelance writing for business and finance publishing company World News Media, Shardell is now looking forward to pursuing a career in news reporting.

Carly-May Kavanagh

Carly-May is a 21 year old politics and international relations graduate. She is deaf and has Asperger’s, as well as mental health issues. During her time at university she was involved in two student papers, and through this she managed to get two weeks of work experience at NME. She also presented and produced her own radio show on Southampton University’s student radio station. In 2018, Carly-May was nominated and subsequently shortlisted for Best Entertainment Piece at the Student Publication Association national conference. She received several nominations at her university’s annual Media Ball and won Best Behind-The-Scenes. She also won ‘Most Shows This Year’ at Surge Radio’s AGM.

Jessica Knibbs

Originally from South Africa, Jessica has worked at some of the biggest publishing houses in both London and Johannesburg. She moved back home and worked as a journalist for the Sandton Chronicle working on breaking news, crime, sports and lifestyle. During that time her passion for journalism became clearly evident as most of her stories became front page news and she became one of the top journalists at the paper. She immersed herself within her community, was the voice for the people and a big advocate for human rights and fairness.

Adam Maidment

Adam Maidment is a 29-year-old freelance journalist, with a degree in media (film and television) from Edge Hill University. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community and having struggled with anxiety, Adam has a particular interest in both LGBTQ+ rights and mental health. He believes that both topics are under-represented in the media, and his first-hand experience provides him with a unique voice. As a freelance writer, Adam has contributed to a number of digital outlets including Gay Times, Cosmopolitan, Into, Elite Daily, and Lifehack. Following the completion of his course, Adam hopes to work on news features for digital media outlets.

Yemaya Marsden

Yemaya is 22 years old and has recently graduated from Keele University with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. She is half English half Chinese and has always struggled to identify anyone in the news or mainstream media that reflects her cultural background. She wants to be a role model for other half-oriental working class girls who do not feel represented in the media – and in society. She believes that more needs to be done to increase diversity in journalism, and is grateful for the positive steps made by the Journalism Diversity Fund.

Sheila Marshall

Sheila is an independent filmmaker and has worked in film and television for over 15 years. Her first feature documentary Right Between Your Ears explores what drives disagreement in society, the belief that our views are right and couldn’t be wrong. The film has won awards for Best Feature Documentary at festivals and played at the Royal Institution, the Byline journalism festival, and has recently been broadcast on ABC in Australia. Sheila would like to work as a film critic, and feels there is a high demand for female BAME film critics.

Chloe McLaughlin

Chloe, who was born in Dundee but brought up in Burnley in Lancashire, is proudly working class and has always had to work numerous jobs to try and support her studies. She believes that income should not be a barrier to success and wants to see more working class, northern voices represented in the media. Chloe studied a BA in performance: drama and theatre, however she has always had a love of journalism and eventually she managed to get her foot in the door at the Northern Life magazine where she works in the editorial team.

Awil Mohamoud

Awil has had a real interest in current affairs since studying government & politics and sociology at A-level. He subsequently began writing for his college paper as well as for a nationwide youth magazine focused on tackling social and political issues. Awil has been advised to reconsider going into journalism because of how various media organisations misrepresent or stereotype people from his own background. However, he believes that diversity is the answer, as dissimilar voices can act as a correcting influence. He aims to do this through upholding and promoting fair, balanced and accurate reporting.

Svar Nanan-Sen

Svar is a graduate of Oxford Brookes University with a BA (Hons) in economics, politics and international relations. He has always had a passion for journalism and sport and decided to pursue both by becoming a sports journalist. Svar comes from a diverse ethnic background having a Caribbean-Irish mother and a Finnish-Indian father. As someone who has both dyslexia and dyspraxia, he has had to overcome a number of barriers to get into journalism but with resilience, focused determination and commitment he has more than equipped himself to have a successful future.

Tom Orde

Tom currently works as an English teacher and freelance copywriter and has spent a few years living and working in South America. To gain journalism experience he has been working at his local paper and doing volunteer work for the Rural Refugee Network.Eventually Tom wants to work in environmental journalism, combining informative and persuasive writing techniques as to promote environmental issues and framing them in a positive light.

Laura Parnaby

Laura is recognised as socially underprivileged based on the income of her parents, both of whom grew up in council housing. Being the first of her family to go to university, Laura’s background has allowed her to connect with other working class people, such as for an interview article at The National Student with ex-convict and working-class performance poet Jamie Thrasivoulou. This cemented her desire to pursue a career in journalism, and studying history canalised her interest towards politics and data journalism. After her course, Laura hopes to pursue a career in political reporting for a national platform.

Yuan Ren

Yuan is bilingual in English and Mandarin and has lived a large part of her life in China. She has worked at Time Out, Pearson, and the Culture Trip in editorial roles, and her freelance writing has appeared in publications such as The Guardian. She is an aspiring video journalist and presenter with a particular interest in the areas of women, and cultural heritage. In her spare time, she is a big foodie trying to write a sitcom.

Jack Richardson

Jack graduated from Birmingham University with a BA in international relations with political science and a part time MA in air power. Without any contacts in journalism, he approached a defence magazine proprietor at a major industry exhibition and ended up writing research-based articles and attending similar trade shows as a member of their publications team. He was particularly proud of this as he has Asperger’s Syndrome. This hidden disability means he finds it hard to interact with other people, particularly in social situations. Not to be deterred, he is very keen to progress with a career in journalism and believes he can also raise the profile of people with this condition.

Konzani Thabani Ncube

Konzani is a Black African student who has a BA in journalism and media studies from Staffordshire University. He is seeking to bring diversity to the newsroom so that minority communities can be heard and understood. He wants to bring different set of lenses in the newsroom which will add variety. He aspires to add variety of stories about Black and Asian minorities. Equipped with a journalism qualification he wants the idea of stereotyping certain communities to be totally removed from the face of our society.

Catherine Wiltshire

Catherine comes from a working class background and is mixed race. She is an avid fan of local news and has wanted to be a journalist since she was young, creating her own online zine in her earlier twenties. After a dramatic deterioration of her mental health in late 2013 she was diagnosed with having a psychotic illness. Since then she has developed great insight into her illness and hopes to educate people on mental health issues highlighting the work of mental health organisations, through her own journalistic work.