The Financial Times and The Brooklyn Brothers have launched a nightly education programme to introduce young people from diverse backgrounds to the news industry.
News School will educate 28 pupils about the business side of news media. Starting today (28 September), the free virtual programme will be led by professionals from the FT, Guardian, Economist, Wall Street Journal, Spotify, Amazon, YouTube and The Brooklyn Brothers.
It will span eight evening sessions over two weeks and cover topics such as business models for journalism, technologies for news distribution, advertising and marketing, and audio and visual storytelling.
At the conclusion of the programme, the FT will offer participants a week-long work-experience placement at the publication and six months of mentorship from an industry professional. There will also be some three- and six-month paid internships available.
A virtual event showcasing the 28 graduates will take place on 22 October. News School aims to find full-time employment for the attendees in the six months following the course.
Jon Slade, chief commercial officer at the FT, said he was inspired to set up the programme by The Brooklyn Brothers’ and Yellowzine’s Night School, a free, eight-week course that ran last year to help BAME talent enter the creative industries.
“The news industry can be a white, middle-class, privileged industry, where it helps to get in the door if you’re white and middle class and know someone. While that continues, it perpetuates the lack of diversity,” Slade said. “I thought – wouldn’t it be great to find some young people who were excited about the idea of the news and media industry but didn’t know how to get started, lacked contacts or didn’t really know what the industry was about or aware of the sorts of roles and careers available?”
The FT recruited the young people through the charities Eric Festival, Career Ready and The Prince’s Trust. They range in age from 18 to 22 years old and about 25% come from outside London.
Slade said the FT aims to run News School again next year and make its materials and toolkit available to other organisations that want to set up similar programmes.
The Brooklyn Brothers chief creative officer George Bryant added: “As an agency, we believe in the importance of social inclusion and it’s a crucial time to be attracting and supporting broader talent. As an industry, a more diverse and inclusive future is essential and this programme is one way we can help break down some of the barriers to entry and open up opportunities to all.”