The events have been organised by “ReachPotential”, a network of Reach staffers from around the business dedicated to promoting social mobility, co-chaired by Sunday Mirror Editor Gemma Aldridge and Planning Director Jenny Shevlin.
The series kicked off yesterday with a 45-minute session delivered to nearly 500 students from state schools around the country, from Wigan, to Wales to Plymouth, shedding light on what happens “Behind the News.” This session will include insight and advice from leaders across various departments, including Mirror Assistant Editor Darren Lewis and Commercial Group Head Sarah-Jane Thomas.
In October, Reach will offer a two-day workshop aimed at students with an interest in storytelling, and will feature a live editorial conference from the Mirror offices as the editors plan the next day’s issue.
Planning Director Jenny Shevlin, who works in the branded content arm of the Solutions team, said: “ReachPotential are passionate about breaking through the ‘class ceiling’ in media and advertising. Who your parents are, what school you went to or how much money you have in the bank should not hold you back in life.
“I come from a proud working class family, and was lucky to have supportive parents and great teachers that pushed me to achieve my goals. I never thought that someone ‘like me’ would end up in advertising.
“Outreach to students from less advantaged backgrounds, who may be experiencing educational inequality, is such an integral part of our strategy. We’ll be opening our doors, demystifying our world and showing them that they have something really special to bring to the industry.”
Sunday Mirror Editor Gemma Aldridge added: “We’re really excited to be launching this great initiative – not just because it’s the right thing to do but because it will make us better as a company.
“At the Mirror we know we have a responsibility to be representative, to reflect our readers and our society in everything we do - the clue is in our name.
“That means not only being inclusive in the stories we tell and the way we tell them but in the make-up of our newsrooms.
“We want young people from all financial and social backgrounds, all races, faiths and genders to know they have the opportunity to thrive here and we believe our papers, websites and other platforms will be better as a result.
“Reach is the biggest news publisher in the country so getting this right will have a huge impact on a traditionally exclusive and sometimes impenetrable industry.”
Future outreach work from the ReachPotential group will include a STEM session showcasing the data, engineering and tech skills currently in demand at Reach.
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