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December 16, 2016

Charity which helps minorities get into journalism facing closure threat after government funding cuts

By Jasper Cox

The charity Creative Access is “exploring options” after government funding cuts have threatened its existence.

The charity, which aims to help young people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds get into the creative industries, says it has had £2 million of its funding cut by the government.

Josie Dobrin, chief executive and co-founder of the organisation, told Press Gazette that she did not know whether they would have to close soon, although she said the intention is to keep going.

She said that the organisation is in discussion with the media industry and publicly-funded bodies, and that decisions will be made “fairly quickly”.

The charity works with media organisations to get young BAME people into paid internships of between six and twelve months, and supports them through this period.

The charity has worked with over 260 companies across ten creative sectors. Dobrin told Press Gazette that the charity has worked with the likes of ITN, The Times, The Sun and The Financial Times.

Those helped by the charity have gone on to work at the BBC, the Daily Mail and the New Statesman.

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Commenting on the cut in the charity’s funding, Dobrin said: “I think it’s a short-sighted decision.” She said that if the charity closes, “all the momentum that we have managed to build up over the last four years will be lost”.

She thought that the charity has been “a catalyst for change within the industries”.

Dobrin said the media is not diverse for “so many reasons”, citing unpaid internships, recruiting via closed networks and the lack of BAME role models which would show others there is a career path for them in the media. She also said that there may still be unconscious bias at the top.

She added: “There’s a lot of people who talk the talk – they will talk about monitoring and diversity targets – but they’re not necessarily walking the walk.”

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