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Press Association launches newsroom diversity bid

The Press Association has launched a new bursary programme to encourage budding journalists from ethnic minority backgrounds to enter the profession.

PA has joined forces with the Journalism Diversity Fund, run by the National Council for the Training of Journalists, to create a scheme to help boost the diversity of its newsrooms.

The scheme will see two successful applicants each year given a place on PA’s NCTJ-accredited training course in London and after completion of the course, they will be offered a two-year training contract with the agency.

Those who secure places on the programme will have their course fees and living expenses paid for while studying and will receive a full trainee salary after that.

Press Association bursary

The programme is open to candidates from a black and Asian minority ethnic backgrounds who have a financial disadvantage which would make it difficult for them to enter journalism.

PA chief executive Clive Marshall said: “We hope this scheme will enable more journalists from diverse and economically disadvantaged backgrounds to come and work at PA.

“We recognise that certain groups are under-represented within the media and as an industry we must do more to ensure our newsrooms better reflect the wider communities we serve.”

Under the scheme, PA will also make a donation to the Journalism Diversity Fund.

NCTJ chief executive Joanne Butcher added: “We are delighted that PA is joining us in the Journalism Diversity Fund’s mission to enable more people from ethnically and socially diverse backgrounds to train as journalists.

“Our aim is to ensure diversity and change is at the top of the newsroom agenda and we are thrilled that an institution like PA, which has been reporting news for the last 147 years, will help more budding journalists to have one of the most exciting and rewarding careers around.”

The deadline for applications is 12 April and for information on how to apply, click here.


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  • March 31, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    Class is a bigger issue in newsrooms than colour in my opinion. Time was journalism was a ‘trade’ rather than a profession, where people joined straight from school.

    Often, these people holding journalists to account were from different social and educational backgrounds than politicians, now they’re all the same.

    Most of the rank and file new journalists are middle class, and that wildly impacts how they report stories on issues like food banks.

    They should do a show called ‘Sharpe’s Journalism’, where Sean Bean goes to work on a paper but then leaves after 18 months because his mum and dad aren’t rich enough to pay for him to have his car fixed.

    Anyone interested should apply to the BBC talent pool where I was taken under the wing of their ‘social mobility coordinator’ and told to go into the interview and ‘big up my northern roots’. It didn’t work, and what fun it was, there’s nothing like being put through your paces by a producer who’s 10 years younger than you and who makes a living leafing through yesterday’s newspapers and doing Google searches along the lines of ‘professors who know about food and/or Yemen’.

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  • April 2, 2015 at 8:55 am

    You are right, Jeff, class is the issue, not race. When I worked in London, the vast majority of reporters fitted the white, liberal, middle class, uni-educated stereotype. There were a few non-white reporters (interestingly almost all female), but again they were middle class. A reporter of working class background (whatever their ethnicity) was as rare as hen’s teeth.

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