What is PressPad?
At PressPad, we connect young journalists with mentor-hosts who not only give them a place to stay while they do work experience in London, but also offer guidance and advice. By providing affordable accommodation in London to those who have already successfully secured internships, we want to even the playing field for aspiring journalists who live outside of London or do not have the means to rent in the capital. We want to make sure they know there are options to help them fund their media internship before they stop themselves even applying to the opportunity of their dreams.
The project was founded by BBC journalist Olivia Crellin following her own experience of entering a journalism career from outside London – and after hearing the stories of many others. Laura Garcia (Co-founder) is a Mexican journalist and lecturer living in the UK who remembers having to sleep on friends’ couches while doing her work experience. She now sees the high cost of accommodation preventing some of her best students from less wealthy backgrounds applying for the most competitive internships.
Our scheme works primarily by engaging and benefiting three distinct groups, whose work then brings broader benefits to the UK society as a whole:
- Aspiring journalists from disadvantaged backgrounds and communities who live outside of London. This group often, but not always, include African-Caribbean, Muslim, LGBTQ and white working class communities. We want to lower the financial bar of entry into the profession and help them break down elitist or nepotistic networks often dominated by middle-class, white, Oxbridge educated professionals. We want them to see what both the job and the lifestyle of a journalist would be to show them that making it in this profession can be for them: You’ve got to see it to be it.
- Media professionals and journalists. We want to see the media community empower change in their own workplaces by challenging themselves, and their organisations, through their participation in our scheme and networking with disadvantaged youth. Direct contact in their own homes could radically change the type of reporting and focus individuals or managers pursue in the newsroom as a result of contact and conversations with someone very different from themselves.
- Media organisations. Their business will strive as they create more socially relevant content aided by the inclusion of more diverse and better networked staff. This is important, because their position as some of the most powerful of organisations in our society means that their influence can go on to influence other sectors of society. Making this group care and engage with effective diversity schemes, like PressPad – not tick-box exercises – is vital.
Annissa lives in Birmingham, but was offered an #internship with @SHINEreports in #London. To commute or stay in a hotel would be pricey, so we presented another option: to stay with a leading #journalist at their home and receive both #accommodation and #mentoring. pic.twitter.com/L6jALQPO0z— PressPad (@PressPadUK) November 20, 2018