The UK’s main journalism training body wants to boost funding for its diversity scheme by two-thirds to £500,000, warning it is “at the point where demand will soon outrun supply”.
The Journalism Diversity Fund was launched in 2005 with a donation of £100,000 and in the 15 years since has helped nearly 350 people from diverse backgrounds to train as journalists.
The National Council for the Training of Journalists, which runs the fund, is calling on news organisations not already contributing to the scheme to put their hands in their pockets.
The call comes amid an industry-wide push for greater newsroom diversity.
Last year, donations to the JDF topped £306,000. The NCTJ is asking for a further £200,000 to bring annual funding to half-a-million pounds.
NCTJ chief executive Joanne Butcher said: “In recent years, thanks to our generous sponsors, we have been able to support an increasing number of deserving candidates through their training courses.
“But we are at the point where demand will soon outrun supply.
“We are therefore hoping that media companies which do not at present offer their financial support to this tried and trusted scheme will come on board.
“We know there is a huge willingness within the sector to make the news media more diverse and more inclusive.
“The JDF, which helps to equip students with the industry-backed NCTJ diploma, is a really important means of achieving that.”
Student journalists enrolled on an NCTJ diploma course, who are British citizens, are eligible for a bursary from the JDF.
Bursaries are awarded four times a year and contribute towards the costs of course fees and/or living expenses.
Current sponsors of the JDF comprise NLA Media Access, the Google News Initiative, Associated Newspapers, BBC, Bloomberg, Financial Times, Newsquest, PA Media, The Printing Charity, Reach, Reuters and Sky.
Rianna Croxford, who received a bursary in 2017 and now works as a reporter at the BBC, said: “I thoroughly recommend it to people who want to get into the news media industry, but face financial barriers.
“Don’t hesitate – just apply. Our voices matter in newsrooms.”
Funding recipients are also paired with working journalists to mentor them throughout their studies. Many sponsors offer work experience opportunities and insight days.
Alex Bannister, managing editor of the Daily Mail, said: “Supporting the Journalism Diversity Fund is a key part of the Mail’s commitment to encouraging a more representative newsroom.
“We are particularly pleased that our experienced Mail journalists are now mentoring JDF bursary recipients, which has created even stronger links between the paper and individuals supported by the fund.”
The NCTJ hosts an annual equality, diversity and inclusion conference, held at Reuters last year (pictured), which celebrates the work of the JDF.