What does it mean to be a JST Fellow?

An update from current mentees on the John Schofield Trust Fellowship mentoring programme

The Centre for Journalism this year joined the John Schofield Trust (JST) Fellowship 12-month mentoring programme. The JST Fellowship pairs students with a mentor based on their professional interests with the aim of students coming a step closer to fulfilling their ambitions. The Senior Fellow mentor helps students navigate areas of the news industry they may not be familiar with and supports them to gain experience to take them the next step in their career. Students also get access to masterclasses led by industry professionals on a range of news media-related topics and get to use the ‘Fellow’ title for life.

We caught up with a few BA Journalism students to hear how the programme is going.

Mahima Abedin

“I just knew I had to apply because I knew this was a rare opportunity that had so many benefits. My mentor is BBC’s climate change disinformation journalist, Merlyn Thomas. Firstly, to have a mentor that is already in the industry and can give me advice based on real life experiences she has had is a blessing. To have someone that is understanding and takes the time out of her busy day is even better. When I heard she was my mentor I was over the moon! She has helped me grow in confidence and I have seen improvements made in my work already, from practicing how to pitch and her giving me advice on how to project my voice.

Advice: Go for it! I’ve met the best people, have the greatest support system around me and have endless opportunities to throw myself toward.” READ MAHIMA’S STORY

Shay Rogers

“A wealth of experience has been passed on to me which is almost invaluable. The masterclasses are a terrific part of the scheme – Networking with people involved with the trust and learning from their experiences can really help you to hone what area of Journalism you want to work in one day. I’ve got lots more contacts than if I hadn’t taken the opportunity. Many people are willing to help you out and guide you on your way, and the Trust is a fantastic opportunity to connect with like-minded people who have a little more experience.

Advice: “Follow your passions!” READ SHAY’S STORY

Lola Durojaiye

The fact that you have your own mentor who solely focuses on you is a huge benefit. You can ask them questions about what their role in the industry is like and having that one-on-one time is a huge advantage. You get to meet other students too. It’s nice to see what people from other universities across the UK are interested in and sometimes you may hear that someone is interested in what you’d also like to pursue.

Advice: Having contacts and branching out of your interest definitely helps and is a huge eye opener.” READ LOLA’S STORY

The University of Kent is one of three universities to link-up with the JST for its first trial of this mentoring scheme involving student journalists. The charity has previously supported working journalists in the early stages of their career in this way. The universities each contribute to the administration costs for their involvement.

Director of Studies at the Centre for Journalism Angela Harrison said the partnership with the John Schofield Trust was a great development.

“The John Schofield Trust is passionate about opening up the doors of journalism to everyone, as are we at the Centre for Journalism. Our multi-media courses are designed to give students the skills they need to flourish in journalism today,” she said.

“Having a mentor who is working at a senior level in the industry through this programme will be an immense support for our talented and committed student journalists and help them in terms of knowledge, contacts and confidence.

“It is great to hear how the partnerships are already reaping rewards for our students. We are grateful to the mentors who give their time and expertise in this way, as well as to the JST for linking up with us.”