For those working in the journalism industry, the era of Covid-19 has has been rocky, to say the least. In such a precarious climate, the danger is that the jobs go to the well-heeled and well-connected rather than those who are necessarily best at doing the job.
That’s why the CIJ spent much of 2021 focusing on finding ways to give a leg-up to determined, intelligent young people from backgrounds that fall outside the usual privileged recipients of internships and informal mentoring.
We’ve used our connections as an organisation to bring the kind of advice and assistance that’s often passed to the children of established journalists’ friends to those that really need it, reinforcing that advice with access to the robust, skills-based training in which we’ve always specialised. From our Collaborative Community Journalism Project, to the mentoring and training bursary in honour of Lyra McKee, via the Source Protection Programme teaching advanced information security, we’ve been providing much-needed direct help to journalists at a range of different points in their career paths.
In addition to those, we ran the second iteration of our Masterclass initiative, building on our successful initiative of 2019, which saw alumni nominated for prizes such as the Paul Foot Award and the British Journalism Awards. We were delighted to welcome back Stephen Grey, the Reuters Investigative Journalist who curated the original Masterclass curriculum (and then pipped his former student Sabrina Weiss to the British Journalism Award for Science Journalism in 2020) to run this year’s course. The last course featured special guests sharing their experience for free in every session, featuring no less than three Pulitzer winners and a leading security expert.
We used our recent success in adapting hands-on practical training for remote online delivery to ensure that geography is no barrier to entry, and invited applications from all over the UK.
The course ran during September and October across six lectures/workshops featuring those special guests from among the best in profession as well as a collaborative project for participants to put the training into practice.
The only eligibility criteria were being resident in the UK, showing a commitment to and talent for investigative journalism in the public interest, and an agreement to attend all sessions. We prioritised applications from those who’re currently underrepresented in journalism, with a particular focus on class, race and geography.