Eat End Schoolkids aim to beat middle class barrier into journalism

Two teenagers from London’s deprived East End have landed coveted places at the prestigious Young Journalists’ Academy summer school which aims to break down the middle-class ‘barrier’ into the media.

Kieran Clarke, from Tower Hamlets College, and Promi Ferdousi, from Mulberry School for Girls, are among just 27 youngsters with working class backgrounds from all over London who have a place in the two-week course at Canary Wharf which had 200 applicants.

Students train in everything from feisty opinion pieces to fact-packed science writing and juicy celebrity reporting and the course takes in tours of newsrooms and studios.

Workshops and seminars include sports writing, radio production and the glamour of being a foreign correspondent.

The academy is for 16- to 18-year-old State school pupils in London to teach the nuts and bolts of journalism.

It was set up in 2006 when research from the Sutton Trust showed a class imbalance in the media. The Cabinet Office claimed in 2009 that the media had become even more dominated by the wealthy.

Research presented at this-year’s British Sociological Association’s conference showed the middle-class still hoard jobs in the media. The summer school aims to counteract this imbalance.

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Its coordinator Nathalie Rothschild said: “We challenge the idea that you need to have the ‘right’ education or be lucky enough to have personal connections to become a journalist.”

The academy aims to inspire a new generation of reporters to learn the value of freedom of expression, truth-seeking “and good grammar”.

The 25 editors, producers and reporters who have volunteered to run seminars include The Sun’s associate editor Trevor Kavanagh, The Times TV critic Andrew Billen and former science editor Mark Henderson, Wall Street Journal leader writer Anne Jolis, Sunday Mirror showbiz columnist Dean Piper, LiveWire Sport commentator Caroline Cheese and BBC radio producers Alex Mansfield and Rami Tzabar.