The Trust’s manager, Cathy Farmer, offers her top tips for applying to our early career mentoring scheme for journalists. Cathy writes:
Every year around 100 people apply for a place on our mentoring scheme. The trustees look at every application and draw up a short list. Last year 34 mentees were chosen and the number can vary each year.
What are we looking for?
Essentially, talented journalists with a hunger for news and who would like help with developing their career from a senior journalist. If that is you, we’d love to hear from you! So that we can make a difference in improving diversity in tomorrow’s newsrooms, we prioritise talented journalists who are not currently represented in UK newsrooms.
The application form
Our application and referee forms are on our website and you can apply online – scroll down the page to see the buttons for the forms.
Firstly, the selection criteria:
• you need to be in the first five years of your career within digital or broadcast journalism, including print journalism
• OR you are an apprentice journalist
• you can be freelance
• we can’t consider you if you are studying or in full-time education
Writing your application:
• your current work base/address – we match mentees and mentors from different organisations, i.e. if you work for the BBC we won’t match you with a fellow BBC employee. We also try to match by location, although remote mentoring (e.g. via Zoom, Skype, FaceTime) is possible and highly likely this year
• we welcome applications from those who don’t have a higher education (degree, master’s) qualification
• it’s good to hear about your digital skills as this is experience which could be shared with your fellow mentees and mentors
• remember to have your application supported by a referee. This can be your line-manager, tutor or someone who is familiar with your journalism. It doesn’t need to be a big name
Your personal statement: your pitch
• the trustees will want to hear why you are applying to the mentoring scheme and what you hope to gain from it. Please avoid saying you want to increase your contact book! Similarly, your mentor can’t find you a job nor solve your personal issues. But we will want to hear how you think your career can be developed, e.g. you want to develop skills in investigative journalism
• be as open as you can as to what you hope to gain from having a mentor
• there are eight options regarding the area you would like to be mentored in. Choose up to three, and focus on what you are really interested in doing. If it’s not listed, please tell us what other area of journalism you need mentoring in
• the trustees try to match according to the mentoring areas, e.g. if you are interested in political reporting, we will try to match you with a mentor who is a political journalist
• mentors are busy and we try to match by location. However, under Covid-19 restrictions seeing a mentor face-to-face in your hometown might not be possible and we will encourage meeting remotely
• and please don’t ask for a specific named mentor!
• the trustees would like to read, listen or watch a story you have worked on and how you feel you contributed to your employer’s news coverage. This can be anything ranging from your experience of recording vox pops, bidding for guests, analysing data, working on an online project….
• if you are an apprentice, tell us something you have done in the run up to your apprenticeship or perhaps something you have achieved during your work placement
• remember to include any awards you have won or been shortlisted for – you’d be surprised how many are too modest to mention these!
Need help in filling in the form?
We will be running bookable sessions to answer any queries. Please email me to reserve a session.
Remember: the deadline for applications is Wednesday 21 October 2020