BBC journalist praises effect of Diversity Fund

A former recipient of the Journalism Diversity Fund has praised the work being done to get people from all backgrounds into journalism and the media.

Gemma-Louise Stevenson, who now works for the BBC, spoke to delegates at the Society of Editors Conference 2016 where praised the fund which was set up by the National Council for the Training of Journalists and the Society of Editors in 2005.

The Fund aims to help a variety of people from those based in working class backgrounds to people with disabilities, helping them target full-time journalistic positions.

Stevenson said that the fund provided those with an interest in the industry with the chance to train in the profession regardless of their financial means or background.

She said: “The Journalism Diversity fund gets more voices in the newsroom. People who traditionally can’t go to university can now get into journalism and that’s the path I’ve taken.

“My advice would be go for the fund- my experience has been 100% positive,” Stevenson added.

The London-based reporter also drew on her own experience with disabilities in the working world, offering advice to youngsters who may be worried about entering the world of journalism.

“A lot of people who do have disabilities worry about their employers and if you need to take time off. But as a matter of fact, they want your voice, they want your work.

“I can’t write with a pen and paper for example. But my employer now has invested in assistive software and they’re so patient about waiting,” Stevenson added.

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