Fifteen aspiring journalists, including an ex-carpenter and a former Madame Tussauds worker, have joined The Sun as trainees under a new scheme aiming to improve newsroom diversity.
The UK’s best-selling newspaper launched the training programme to find aspiring journalists “from all walks of life” in November. It is fully funded and will pay trainees a competitive salary.
Five of the trainees have no prior journalism training and will now study part-time for their NCTJ diploma with News Associates, paid for by the Sun, while working at the paper.
The other ten trainees have already completed an NCTJ qualification and will spend the next three months at agencies around the UK, including SWNS, before joining the Sun for 12 months.
Six out of the 15 trainees are from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background while others are have working class roots. Nine of the new intake are women.
Former Sun editor-in-chief Tony Gallagher had called for increased diversity in newsrooms to reflect the UK population. He said the trainee scheme “will be full-on, but fun”.
Ghanaian-born Kevin Adjei-Darko, 28, said: “The Sun has been a staple in my home as far as I can remember. To now be working at The Sun is both surreal and a great honor.
“I am excited to learn, grow and hopefully be an inspiration for others who would like to work at The Sun.”
Politics and history graduate Chris Bradford, 22, said: “I am proud to have grown up in a working-class household and succeed in an industry where working-class journalists have often faced barriers.
“I am looking forward to starting the rotating placements on the different desks, learning on the job, picking up tips and advice from respected journalists as I look to shape my future in the industry.”
Justin Lawrence, 28, who has worked in carpentry and interior design, said: “I want to be a positive beacon in a not so positive world, inspiring with my words and work.”
Aspiring showbiz journalist Stella Akinwumi, 23, worked as a clerk at Madame Tussauds while studying journalism at the University of Westminster and has her eyes on covering showbiz.
Sara Hussain, 23, is looking ahead already, saying: “If I am optimistic, I would really like to be an editor in five years time.”
Also on the scheme are Julia Atherley, Frankie Christou, Shan Ally, Sophie Donovan, Kiro Evans, Alice Fuller, Ed Southgate, Dorothy Howbrook, Sarah Grealish and Cat Graffius.
The Sun has said this scheme marks the start of a rolling programme of training at the title, with plans to hire more trainees next year.
Last year the paper partnered with City University offering a paid placement for a student on its media diversity scholarship interested in the under-representation of Muslims in the media.
Picture: Arthur Edwards