Journalism is one of the today’s most elitist professions. Over half of British journalists for major newspapers attended private schools, according to the Sutton Trust. Unpaid internships for journalism hopefuls are presented as the way forward for a sparkling career, excluding writers from poorer backgrounds as well as those who don’t live near major cities. This inaccessibility is why projects like the Young Reporters Scheme are so important.

I joined the scheme, along with hundreds of other young people, in September. I’m a keen writer but before this I had little experience with journalistic articles and few ideas on how to properly interrogate the political, social and local issues I care about. At first, I struggled for ideas, and wrote a long list of potential article topics, but nothing seemed quite right. A restaurant review? A commentary on education? However, as time progressed and I became more confident in my writing and the scope of the scheme, I produced articles which I felt proud of.

Since the Young Reporters Scheme, I have completed two weeks of work experience with the Literary Review, a major national magazine reviewing a variety of books. After my work experience, I was asked to review a book for them, and my article was published in April 2019’s issue. I applied for - and achieved - a position as a reporter at the online news platform The Youth Journal, providing content written by and for young people, and am due to publish my first article with them next month. Most recently, I worked for Bright Blue, a thinktank focusing on government policy research, and wrote an article for them on conservatism in Israel - something which before the Young Reporters Scheme I would have struggled to research. My work with This Is Local London has taught me impressive research skills and required me to show initiative in my reporting.

Projects like this prove that you don’t need to be a member of the academic elite to succeed in journalism, or to be from any particular background. The Young Reporters Scheme has helped me produce an impressive corpus of articles which I can now use as a calling card when seeking further work - it formed a large part of my application to The Youth Journal - and has allowed me to be flexible in covering a variety of issues. As an English Literature student, it has also taught me to use my words carefully and aim to analyse my points in each article with clarity and tact. Working with a variety of people for article interviews, from my German teacher to visitors at London’s Open House, has helped me ensure balance and diversity in my articles, and shown me how important it is to listen to everyone

Whilst I’m sad to see my work at This Is Local London ending, I’m grateful for the opportunity I’ve had to take my first steps in journalism. It has given me many new ideas, and I hope this is the start of something promising.