Reach has launched a standalone training scheme to improve the diversity of its newsrooms as it expands its news websites in the South East of England this week.
The scheme, Reach Boost, will pay for journalists to train for their NCTJ diploma while in full-time employment and hopes to improve representation of journalists from minority ethnic backgrounds and those from underrepresented social classes.
Three regional journalism jobs will be ringfenced at the Essex Live, Kent Live and MyLondon websites for trainees who Reach says “would not normally have the opportunity to enter this industry”.
If the scheme is successful, Reach says it could be rolled out across more regions.
The news comes as the UK’s largest regional publisher announced preparations to launch a Buckinghamshire Live website following the creation of three county websites – Herts, Sussex and Hampshire – earlier this year. The South East is currently the company’s fastest growing region and reported a 69% year on year growth in readers of MyLondon, Reach’s news site for the capital.
Announcing Reach Boost, new audiences editor for London and the South East, Luke Jacobs (pictured) said: “Here at Reach in the South East, we’ve had a strategy in place to rapidly improve diversity and inclusion in our content, improving our recruitment practices and becoming an inclusive and secure environment for staff from all backgrounds.
“The Covid-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests has shown the desperate need to widen perspectives in our newsrooms and in our coverage.
“Our journalists are passionate about the areas they cover, but we can only be truly representative if we best reflect them at all levels, including entry.”
David Bartlett, Reach’s audience and content director for London and South East, said: “Anyone in a leadership position knows that it is not enough to acknowledge a problem, it must be followed with action.”
“We pride ourselves at being a great region for developing talent, but I also believe we have so much to learn from future generations of new journalists. There is no time like the present to welcome into Reach a more representative group of aspiring journalists who will in time shape our company and our journalism.”
Reach also announced yesterday further jobs on offer including content editors, SEO writers and photographers to work for its South East websites.