Why I volunteer as a trustee

Emma Maxwell

When I returned to work from having the first of my three children in 1995, I was one of the first part-time working mothers in my newsroom. I well remember the loneliness of trying to juggle work and home life and not feeling that I could admit the difficulties I faced. Of feeling different from most of my colleagues. How I wish I’d had a mentor then who could have encouraged and advised me.

I know the powerful support that John Schofield Trust mentors give to their mentees. They boost their confidence and guide their career choices. And often our mentees teach our mentors a thing or two.

But the most wonderful thing about being a trustee is the extraordinary goodwill that the John Schofield Trust is able to rely on. All the busy journalists who agree to be one of our mentors, or give talks at our masterclasses, do it for free because they believe in giving the next generation of journalists a helping hand. They don’t want to hoard the privilege of working in the media, and I find their example inspiring.

At a time when news organisations have to make their voices heard in a world full of outlets without regulators, many of which make (or take) content without providing stable financial backing for public service journalism, it is more important than ever that we have journalists whose work is informed by a wide spectrum of life experiences so that our stories can cut through the hubbub.

     ‘A small act is worth a million thoughts’ Ai Weiwei

I am a big fan of practical action and want to make sure that the opportunities we offer, both to young journalists early in their careers and also to sixth formers considering going into the media, are taken up by an ever more diverse group of future award-winning reporters and producers. People who will go on to become the newsroom leaders and programme editors who can make news journalism an industry fit for the 21st century. I believe the work of the John Schofield Trust is making a difference.

And that’s why I’m proud to say I’m one of its Trustees.

Emma is a Senior Producer at Channel 4 News