AddThis SmartLayers

Fifty Facebook reporters retained in journalism roles, NCTJ reveals

Natasha MeekAlmost 30 journalists recruited through a Facebook-funded scheme have now been taken on in different full-time roles by their host publishers – while more than 20 have also been retained in their current posts.

The former community reporters were recruited through the NCTJ-administered Community News Project, launched in 2018 with a $6m charitable donation from the social media company.

Of the 83 hired to work at 76 regional press titles across the country during the initial two-year pilot period, the NCTJ has now revealed 29 have gone on to other permanent roles in journalism.

Another 21 who achieved the NCTJ Diploma in Journalism during the first two years of the scheme have been kept on in their current positions to work towards the senior National Qualification in Journalism.

Natasha Meek, who worked as a community reporter at the Bradford Telegraph & Argus, is among those to have moved to a new role and is now a digital journalist at York daily The Press.

Natasha, pictured, said: “What mattered most of all to me was that my journalism made a difference.

“I helped tell the stories of LGBT+ refugees finding their new ‘family’ in Bradford, a Sudanese woman delivering food parcels to the most hard-to-reach communities during COVID-19, and was told by a mental health practitioner that my article had saved young lives.”

Jessica Molyneux, who has been kept on at the Liverpool Echo as a district reporter, added: “The NQJ training I did as part of the scheme was extremely valuable as it enabled me to enhance the skills I acquired whilst doing my NCTJ but also apply what I had learned in my role as a community reporter.”

It has also been revealed 69pc of those recruited met one or more diversity criteria, and more than a fifth are from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

Gurjeet Nanrah, who worked as a community reporter at Nottinghamshire Live, said: “Being a community reporter has been more than an ideal role to begin life as a journalist.

“It’s helped me identify the types of stories I enjoy reporting on and led to my new job as a life writer across Lincolnshire Live, Derbyshire Live and Nottinghamshire Live.”

Community reporter vacancies in the next phase of the project are now being recruited for by publishers involved in the scheme.