Welcome to #DiversifyTheMedia!

By Nicola Slawson, Campaigns Manager

Today is a really exciting day for PressPad as we have finally launched our crowdfunder.

For me, personally, it means I can finally share what I’ve been working on for the last couple of months and for us as a team it gives us a chance to really shout about what we do and to make sure we can really secure the future of this fledgling social enterprise. 

Everyone I have met over the last few months since I began working with PressPad has told me what a great idea it is and how it should be the norm for all interns.

We couldn’t agree more but even though we have successfully matched 50 interns with seniors journalists who have a spare room, we just don’t have the resources to do more without financial support.

We have even had a beautiful new AirBnB website designed but without a co-ordinator, we won’t be able to deliver on its potential. We also need to get out there and tell as many aspiring journalists as possible about what we do so they apply to us before giving up on their dreams. 

From experience, I know that this is what happens when young people face financial barriers to getting their foot in the door.

Back when I did my undergraduate, which feels like 100 years ago, I was elected onto the students union team as the vice president in charge of media. This meant I was the editor of the student paper and station controller of both the radio and TV stations (just call me Rupert Murdoch!)

Aside from all the power I wielded, the best part of the job was working with talented and passionate young people every day. 

In the years to follow I watched as so many of them realised they couldn’t afford to move to London to work for free as interns in journalism or be paid very little to work as runners in production companies.

Many of them moved home or to cheaper cities. They got temporary jobs in administration or call centres. The temporary jobs became permanent. Most of them never did fulfil their dream of working in the media. 

Given the university I went to was an ex-poly, most of my peers and I weren’t from privileged backgrounds and it makes me angry to think of all the wasted potential.

It isn’t a loss only for the individuals but also to the media industry which has missed out so many bright young sparks from working class backgrounds. We know that this is all too common.

It is estimated to cost young people more than £1000 to do a month’s worth of unpaid work experience and while there are a growing number of diversity schemes doing great work, there isn’t enough attention on how the biggest barrier is often finance. It’s no wonder that only 11% of journalists come from a working class background.
Nicola Slawson
PressPad Outreach Manager

This financial barrier to journalism is something that’s really personal for me too.

I only managed to do my six month unpaid internship by finding a job that provided accommodation that I could do at nights and weekends.

This meant I ended up living and working in a boarding school. Sometimes I would be working 24 hours a day. It was exhausting and stressful and I sometimes wonder how on earth I managed it.

But it’s the memories of this period which really motivate me now to help PressPad get as much money as possible during this crowdfunder. 

Please consider contributing. We have some brilliant rewards including VIP tickets to our launch party in January, mentoring sessions with PressPad’s founders and a very special supper club at the Groucho Club no less.

If we don’t reach our target, we won’t get any of the money at all so as Tesco say, every little helps. Even if you can only spare a fiver, we would be so grateful. Please donate today to help us #DiversifyTheMedia.

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