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Reach Aims to Boost Newsroom Diversity with New Trainee Scheme

Reach plc is creating a new training scheme called Reach Boost designed to improve minority ethnic and social class representation in its newsrooms.

Reach Aims to Boost Newsroom Diversity with New Trainee Scheme
Luke Jacobs: “The COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests has shown the desperate need to widen perspectives in our newsrooms and in our coverage.” Photograph: Ramakant Sharda on Unsplash.

It is Reach plc’s first standalone scheme.

Reach will pay for aspiring journalists to train while in full time employment in newsrooms in the publisher’s London and the South East region.

The scheme will initially fund three places in Kent, Essex and London. If the scheme is successful Reach is hoping to roll out Reach Boost across other regions.

A pilot project has already funded one position in the region, which includes established news sites including KentLive, CambridgeshireLive, MyLondon and EssexLive, and new launches such as HertsLive, SussexLive and HampshireLive.

Under the scheme Reach will partner with NCTJ-accredited journalism course providers to take on and support students from a diverse range of backgrounds to achieve their formal journalism training.

Reach Boost is now open for applications:

Reach says it has been widening access for aspiring journalists from underrepresented backgrounds for some time. The company is a strategic partner of the National Council Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and a sponsor of the Journalism Diversity Fund. National news brand The Mirror is already a partner in the Widening Media Diversity Scholarship with London’s City University to recruit more Muslim journalists into the profession.

David Bartlett, audience and content director for London and South East, said the region was determined to improve diversity in its newsrooms.

He said: "I’m delighted we are launching Reach Boost, as we pride ourselves at being one of the best regions for developing talent. However, we also believe that we have much to learn from future generations of new journalists.

“This scheme will see us effectively ringfence three trainee journalist roles in London, Kent and Essex, for people who would not normally have the opportunity to enter this industry.

"This will be the first time we will have committed to training this number of journalists at the same time.”

Luke Jacobs, New Audiences Editor for London and the South East, said: "Here at Reach in the South East, we've had a strategy in place to rapidly improve diversity and inclusion in our content, improving our recruitment practices and becoming an inclusive and secure environment for staff from all backgrounds.

"The COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests has shown the desperate need to widen perspectives in our newsrooms and in our coverage. Our journalists are passionate about the areas they cover, but we can only be truly representative if we best reflect them at all levels, including entry.”