John Schofield Trust launches new scheme to improve diversity in journalism

John Schofield Trust launches new scheme to improve diversity in journalism

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Left to right: Trustees Wendy Wilson & Paul Harrison, Sky News' Political Corrospondent, Lewis Goodall, David Dimbleby and trust founder, Susie Schofield (Credit: Emily Freya)

A joint initiative between the John Schofield Trust and online mentoring specialists Brightside to promote social mobility in journalism will launch in September 2018.

The new partnership will support young people (aged 16-17) who are from disadvantaged backgrounds and are interested in a career in journalism, by running an e-mentoring scheme.

The e-mentoring scheme will enable the youngsters to match with industry professionals and allow for a greater scope to find mentee's best suited to them.  

Fewer people from poorer backgrounds are entering the industry and it is hoped this partnership will open the door to the next generation of journalists, regardless of their background.

Sky News' Political Correspondent, Lewis Goodall, who attended the John Schofield Trust's annual reception where the partnership with Brightside was announced, wrote in July on class issues in journalism.

“I desperately want to see more state schoolers from working class backgrounds get into TV and media and I want to see us all try and do more about it…Because class matters in journalism”.

"If we had more kids in journalism who grew up in tower blocks, we'd have been better at shining a light on the living conditions of some of our fellow citizens, like those who lived and died in Grenfell Tower".

“Maybe the fact that the top echelons of the media are dominated by private schoolers explains some of the gender and BAME pay gaps. If you go to private school you're more likely to hire other people like you, other private schoolers, who are less likely to be from an ethnic minority background”, said Goodall.

The John Schofield Trust took their first steps to unlocking social mobility by opening their mentoring scheme to journalist apprentices two years ago. However, trust founder Susie Schofield thinks it is essential to get involved in the process much earlier.

The joint venture aims to help the youngsters fulfill their potential by nurturing their skills and ambitions, whilst providing practical advice and emotional support.

22 journalists have been given the annual RTS/John Schofield Trust award for Young Journalists which is awarded at the RTS Television Journalism Awards. Previous winners of this prestigious RTS award have gone on to become well respected figures within the news industry, including Rohit Kachroo, Benjamin Zand, and in 2017 Channel 4 News' Waad al-Kateab.

The charity has also supported over 330 journalists since the inception of its award-winning mentoring scheme six years ago.

Brightside supports 10,000 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds every year via online mentoring. The organisation connects them with mentors from a wide range of universities and industries that they might not otherwise encounter.  

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