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Journalists and trainees celebrate diversity training fund

Senior journalists from the national press joined beneficiaries of a journalism training fund at its annual celebratory lunch.

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger spoke at the reception the paper’s London HQ to mark another year of the Journalism Diversity Fund, which is run to help potential journalists of tomorrow from ethnically and socially diverse backgrounds.

The fund is administered by the National Council for the Training of Journalists to help students secure places on NCTJ-accredited journalism who otherwise might not be able to afford it.

Among the senior journalists who attended the event were Hugh Carnegy, executive editor of the Financial Times, Ed Curran, editor-in-chief of the Belfast Telegraph and Jeremy Dear, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists.

Alan said: “I think there has been uneasiness for some time in the industry.

“Something happened about 20 years ago, journalism became a profession of middle class graduates. Editors became aware that journalism had become too restrictive and asked what could the industry do about it?

“The work the Journalism Diversity Fund is doing is vital, this change is not going to happen unless we get the help of the whole industry, the status quo will always win through.”

A donation of £100,000 was accepted NCTJ chairman Kim Fletcher from David Pugh, MD of the Newspaper Licensing Agency.

Kim added: “More than anything we want journalists to reflect the people they write about.

“The Journalism Diversity Fund is a wonderful enterprise by the whole of the journalism industry, seeing the need for change and responding to that need.”

Previous recipients of the fund Eimhear O’Neill and Christina Johnson then told guests how it had helped them secure work with a TV company and the NCTJ respectively.