Journalism Diversity fund - Can it help you?

Published: 13 Mar 2018 By Ashley Richardson

With this year’s deadline for Journalism Diversity Fund funding fast approaching, we spoke to Beverley Bailey, Head of development, for the NCTJ to find out more about the fund and how it helps.

The Journalism Diversity Fund has been awarding bursaries since 2005 – can you tell us about the good work you do?

The fund was set up with the aim of encouraging more diverse people to train as journalists, making newsrooms better reflect the communities they serve.

Administered by the NCTJ, bursaries are awarded to aspiring journalists from socially or ethnically diverse backgrounds who do not have the financial means to support themselves through NCTJ journalism training, giving them the opportunity to pursue one of the most exciting and rewarding careers around.

Thanks to the financial support of the industry, we have awarded 257 bursaries since 2005.

How is the fund supported by the journalism industry?

The JDF relies on donations from those in the industry who have diversity at the top of their agenda. Since the first donation in 2005 of £100,000 from the Newspaper Licensing Agency (NLA), the fund has grown substantially and is now supported with donations from: BBC, Bloomberg, DMG Media, Financial Times, Google News Lab, Press Association, Reuters, Sky and The Printing Charity.

What does each bursary cover?

Each bursary we award is unique and dependent on the needs of the applicant, however a typical bursary will cover the cost of course fees and help with living costs while studying.

Who can apply for a bursary?

Our eligibility criteria is simple. Applicants must have secured a place on an upcoming NCTJ-accredited course (with the exception of undergraduate or distance learning courses). They must also be a British citizen from a diverse background who can demonstrate a genuine commitment and potential to be a successful journalist.

Talk us through the application process

The first step you need to take is to complete an application form. As well as being asked to provide details about yourself and the funding you require, this is also your opportunity to showcase examples of your work and demonstrate your potential as a journalist.

Your application form is then sent to a panel of editors and senior journalists, who will shortlist candidates who have demonstrated a genuine commitment to journalism and have provided evidence that they could bring diversity to a newsroom and are financially in need.

If shortlisted, you will then be invited to attend an interview so that a final decision can be made. Interview panels are made up of senior industry figures who will ask various questions about your passion for journalism, financial need and your diversity. The following week, you will be notified of the outcome.

This year, there are three application rounds and the schedule can be found on the JDF website.

You also award the Claire Prosser and Thomas Read bursaries each year, what can you tell us about those?

That’s right, each year we award two slightly different bursaries to Journalism Diversity Fund recipients.

The Claire Prosser bursary is awarded each year to an applicant who has been awarded JDF funding and has an interest in a career as a broadcast or digital journalist. This bursary was set up in the memory of founder and former director of the BBC Journalism Trainee Scheme, who died suddenly in 2014. As well as the financial contribution to their studies, the award winner also receives work experience opportunities with BBC News, Press Association and Wire Free Productions.

The Thomas Read bursary is awarded each year to an applicant who has been awarded JDF funding and has a long-term illness, health problem or disability. This bursary was set up in the memory of the Sky Sports News journalist Thomas Read, who died unexpectedly in 2015, aged 25. In addition to the financial contribution to their studies, the award winner is also given the opportunity to carry out a work placement at Sky Sports News.

You can indicate your interest in being considered for either of these bursaries in the application form.

Do you have any top tips for anyone thinking of applying to the JDF?

The more journalism-related work experience you have under your belt before you apply, the better. This shows us how committed and passionate you are about becoming a journalist and gives you an opportunity to provide examples of your work. Also, be yourself! Be honest in your answers and let your personality shine through.

The deadline for first round of applications of 2018, for the Journalism Diversity Fund applications is on 25th April, for the full schedule, please click here.


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