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NCTJ reveals new team of ambassadors

The NCTJ has revealed the names of its new team of ambassadors, which will promote the charity’s values of quality, trust and diversity in journalism.

NCTJ reveals new team of ambassadors
Joanne Forbes: “This event is a celebration of diversity and what you’ve all achieved by working together.”

The announcement was made last week at the NCTJ’s Summer Reception, hosted by Dow Jones and News UK in London to celebrate the success of the Journalism Diversity Fund (JDF).

The NCTJ says this newly-assembled group of NCTJ-qualified journalists will attend events such as careers fairs and speak publicly for the charity.

Kim Fletcher, NCTJ chairman, said the charity is “really privileged” to bring the group of 21 journalists together and thanked them for their contribution.

He added: “Join us in getting the word out, talking about journalism and talking about what we’re trying to do on the diversity front.”

The journalists were selected to represent areas across the UK and have a range of backgrounds and experiences.

They entered journalism through a variety of pathways and represent different branches of the industry from print, digital and broadcast to podcasts, social media and communications, added NCTJ.

Some of the ambassadors have benefited from the Journalism Diversity Fund, while some entered the profession through the Community News Project. Others have been recognised at the NCTJ’s Awards for Excellence.

Twenty-one ambassadors have initially been appointed to the group:

  • Karimah Bangura – digital news producer, ITN
  • Simon Bennett – PR officer, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council
  • Hayley Clarke – advanced apprentice, BBC News
  • Danielle Desouza – multimedia journalist, PA Media
  • Ayisha Gharu – social media executive, What Car? Magazine
  • Mirek Gosney – trainee reporter, Newbury News
  • Kia-Elise Green - features writer, i
  • Georgia Harland – court and crime reporter, Oxford Mail
  • Alex Homer – senior journalist, BBC Shared Data Unit
  • Sara Keenan – reporter, People of Colour in Tech
  • Tomas Hill Lopez-Menchero – junior European editor, The Athletic
  • Amar Mehta – assistant news editor, Sky News
  • Rhoda Morrison – editor, Edinburgh Evening News
  • Sophie Perry – news reporter, PinkNews
  • Yasmin Sarwar – reporter, StokeOnTrent Live
  • Aisha Sembhi – digital journalist, BBC
  • Damian Shepherd – European real estate reporter, Bloomberg
  • Catrin Shi – editor in chief, Insurance Insider
  • Amrit Singh Mann – junior journalist, Sky News
  • Charlotte Vowles – press officer, Headway
  • Emaan Warraich – journalist, BBC World Service

You can read about all of the ambassadors here.

Alongside the ambassadors’ announcement, the NCTJ’s Summer Reception saw JDF recipients given career insights from a panel of journalists, including News UK’s head of creative diversity Mark Hudson and Dow Jones’ Financial News editor-in-chief Shruti Tripathi Chopra.

Joining them were Times Radio multimedia reporter Jo Crawford and Wall Street Journal reporter Yusuf Khan, both JDF alumni.

Managed by the NCTJ, the JDF provides mentoring and financial support to aspiring journalists from a diverse range of backgrounds to help cover the costs of studying on an NCTJ-accredited course.

After the careers panel, there were celebratory drinks to praise the contribution of almost 150 journalists who mentor JDF bursary recipients.

Joanne Forbes, NCTJ chief executive, opened the event by addressing the audience, made up of JDF recipients, JDF mentors and working journalists.

She said: “This event is a celebration of diversity and what you’ve all achieved by working together. The JDF is about the media industry and like-minded charities getting together to take collective action that makes a difference alongside their own important initiatives and interventions.

“I think it’s so important that we share ideas and learn from each other. There are no easy answers or quick fixes, and although we have made progress, we must keep the momentum going to achieve greater equality, diversity and inclusion in journalism.”

The NCTJ says the fund has supported more than 550 people since it was established in 2005 and there have been 328 mentorships since they were introduced to the scheme in 2018.

Welcoming guests of behalf of Dow Jones, the Wall Street Journal and News UK, Vera Akiotu, director of financial crime compliance proposition at Dow Jones, stressed the “importance of ensuring that our newsrooms reflect the rich tapestry of voices and perspectives in our global community”.

She said: “Diversity in newsrooms is not just a buzzword; it is a fundamental necessity for the credibility, relevance, and accuracy of our reporting.”

The second application round for the Journalism Diversity Fund in 2024 has now closed. The next application deadline will be on Wednesday, 31 July.

Find out more about the JDF and how to apply for a bursary here.

Photograph: Supplied by NCTJ.
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