Ten years up! – that’s the record that the Guild of St Bride’s journalism bursary has racked up with its funding of 11 young journalists at the start of their careers.
The lucky nine, who are listed below with their current jobs, were joined last September by this year’s winner Connie Dimsdale and runner-up Anushka Suharu, who started MA journalism courses at City University, London, last term.
In past years the guild had supported a single postgraduate student with £3,000 funding of their course fees, along with offering support, mentoring and networking opportunities, but this year the court, for only the second time, decided to make a double award – to mark the landmark anniversary, the exceptional circumstances in the industry and wider economy in a pandemic year, and to acknowledge the concomitant difficulty of finding student jobs and low-cost accommodation in the capital.
Connie and Anushka were interviewed virtually this summer by the Guild’s master, Lord Black, who is deputy chairman of the Telegraph Media Group, the rector, the Revd Canon Dr Alison Joyce, City University’s director of postgraduate journalism Jonathan Hewitt, and Simon Greaves, a Guild Court member and Financial Times/FT.com journalist.
Every award has been made with consideration given to candidates’ journalistic potential, their academic merit, financial need and then the overall quality of each application. Several of the promising young people supported by the guild would not have been able to embark on their studies without this extra funding.
The guild’s scheme was originally set up under Sir David Bell’s mastership to “give something back” to the profession, which has in turn supported the ‘Cathedral of Fleet Street’ for generations, a bond which has survived the dispersal of the printing and journalism professions from the parish since the 1980s.
In 2011, the then master of the guild, Sir David, a distinguished former Washington correspondent and FT chairman, asked court member the late Pat Barnes-Harman, who pioneered Stationers’ Company bursaries, and FT colleague Mr Greaves to set up and run the scheme.
As well as receiving the cash award, students have benefited through the church’s connections with job references, work experience at news organisations and opportunities through the Guild to attend high profile public events. Award winners have also been invited to write for the church’s website, covering public lectures by leading politicians and key services in the church calendar.
Among those receiving awards towards course fees, several students have gone on to secure merits and distinctions on their courses and all have then moved into first and some second jobs, which include working with top employers across the industry.
The rector said: “The guild bursary was established in 2012 as a way in which St Bride’s can offer practical help to a talented aspiring journalist each year. Alongside the financial award itself, the link with St Bride’s has provided opportunities for the bursary winner to attend events which, so far, have ranged from a Buckingham Palace garden party to the annual Press Club Ball. At a time when so many in the industry are feeling under pressure, St Bride’s does all that it can to provide support of every kind to those working in the journalism profession.”
* Church and court members and their families are welcome to join the next St Bride’s Guild/City University journalism masterclass on Tuesday March 2 from 2pm. Students from City, including our two current scholars, will be joined by Ian MacGregor (2pm), editor emeritus of the Telegraph Group, and Jonathan McEvoy (3.30pm), Mail Group F1 columnist and sports reporter, to talk about careers in journalism and take part in a Q and A session. If you would like to listen in or take part email firstname.lastname@example.org for a Zoom link to be sent in advance.
The St Bride’s Guild scholars – where they work today
Tom Knowles, 2012 San Francisco-based technology correspondent for the Times
Rozina Sabur, 2013 Washington correspondent for the Telegraph
Bryony Clarke, 2014 London-based freelance journalist and copy editor
May Bulman, 2015 social affairs correspondent at the Independent
James Sutton, 2016 managing editor at Think Publishing, London
Joe Bray, 2017 football writer and columnist at the Manchester Evening News
Joint winners 2018:
Abbie Cheeseman, Beirut freelance correspondent
Anna Menin, chief City reporter, CityAM
Sophie Dickinson, 2019 politics reporter Daily Mirror
2020 winner Connie Dimsdale and runner-up Anushka Suharu
Another dynamic duo – this year’s winners in their own words
Connie Dimsdale – I am 22 years old and live in Chrishall, a village between Saffron Walden, Essex, and Royston,Hertfordshire). Having gone to school in Cambridge, it’s often easier for me to say I’m from there (although that’s not strictly true).
I moved up north in 2016 to study liberal arts at the University of Leeds. This was a brand-new degree programme that allowed me to major in history, while simultaneously studying other subjects including theatre, theology and sociology. The interdisciplinary nature of my degree informed my dissertation topic: an investigation into religion and feminism on my university campus.
While at university I enjoyed directing and producing student theatre shows. I also dabbled in a variety of student media outlets: The Scribe arts magazine, The Gryphon student newspaper and Leeds Student Radio. It was through this participation that I realised I wanted to pursue a career in journalism.
I took a gap year post-university to satisfy another interest of mine: travel. I backpacked across South America, exploring Brazil and Argentina, before coronavirus sent me packing three months early. Lockdown gave me ample time to practise my other hobbies including writing and dancing.
I am embarking on an MA course in newspaper journalism. My interests in this field include religion and society, current affairs, foreign affairs and the arts. I am honoured to be receiving this bursary, and I look forward to fostering a productive relationship with the Guild as I begin my career.
Anushka Suharu – I am a 21-year-old British Indian, born in New Delhi, before I moved to the UK at the age of five. I live in Crawley, near Gatwick airport, and have recently graduated with a BA in English Literature from the University of Warwick.
While studying at Warwick I became immersed in literature from across the world and completed various projects on gender, race and class relations. I am an avid reader but I also enjoy various forms of art and have studied film, publishing and law while at university.
My love for story-telling and journalism inspired me to participate in many media societies while at Warwick from editorial roles at the university’s award-winning newspaper, The Boar to having my own radio show on RAW. I am also the world editor of KettleMag, a student publication based in London.
I have always enjoyed volunteering and engaged in many non-profit projects at university, such as UNICEF and Enactus Project Baala.
I believe that representation is more important than ever in the world today and in an industry which often fails to represent all the people, I want to showcase stories across the world and diversify the narrative.
I am looking forward to studying MA interactive journalism at City University, London and also thrilled to be a part of the Guild’s community and embark on my career as a journalist.
Written by: Simon Greaves, Guild court member and Financial Times journalist
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