Everything you need to know about PressPad.

PressPad is a voluntary initiative that helps match aspiring journalists who have secured an internship in London with a mentor in the business who also provides them with a room to stay in rent-free for the duration of their internship.

The project was founded by BBC journalist Olivia Crellin following her own experience of entering a journalism career from outside the M25 – and after hearing the stories of many others.

Olivia, who grew up in the Midlands, calculated that it would cost the same or less to take a flight abroad and start her journalism adventures in a foreign country where the cost of living was significantly cheaper – than try her hand interning in London for free with hefty rent and travel costs and no guarantee of a job.

The unreliable nature of journalism means that many who make the move to London – even with opportunities lined up – will face the same situation.

Making the case for diverse newsrooms

As Sky Correspondent Lewis Goodall wrote in July following revelations of top BBC presenters’ salaries and the lack of diverse high earners in the industry, “diversity is about more than what you can see.”

His article calls attention to what many of us know to be true: coming from a working class and poor economic background is a huge, unspoken disadvantage. From some informal number crunching based on the 2017 published list of salaries, Goodall goes on to write:

“No fewer than 45% of the BBC’s best paid stars went to private schools. That compares to 7% of the nation overall. Just think about that. If you send your child to private school it increases their chances of being one of the biggest names in TV and media by a factor of six.”

PressPad hopes to lower the economic bar for entry into the journalism industry by calling on an industry of compassionate, well-paid and well-educated colleagues to volunteer their privilege – and a room. Through a network of such people contributing in this way, together we hope we can do something that is desperately overdue: diversify the industry in a dimension that goes beyond just gender and race.

PressPad’s views echo those of Goodall’s when he asks this vital question:

“We journalists are the ones who day after day, are supposed to reflect Britain unto itself. How are we supposed to do that if we are drawn from an increasingly narrow social caste?”