Scott Trust Bursary Students 2021-22

Mabel Banfield-Nwachi
City University
From a young age, I’ve always been an avid consumer of the media; from podcasts and the radio to blogs and articles. But growing up, I rarely saw people - and especially women - who looked like me hosting radio shows or as editors of publications. It’s hardly surprising, then, that I didn’t dream of reporting the news until I was an undergrad at The University of Manchester.

At university, I soon got stuck into societies focused on social justice, like the Feminist Collective, as Anti-racism Representative and Deputy Chair. Here, I was free to ask questions and began writing an informal blog relating to the weekly discussions. This marked the beginning of my journalistic ambitions, as I was keen to continue writing more seriously about inequalities and giving voice to those underrepresented in the media. I began writing for Manchester’s brilliant student newspaper The Mancunion, and later became Deputy Investigations Editor where I worked with a team to uncover stories about student injustices.

Black women are one of the least represented voices in the media and not because we have nothing to say. The Scott Trust Bursary empowers me to advocate for those causes that I care deeply about and continue to fight injustices faced by some communities. Coming from a working-class background, without it, I likely would have struggled to get a foot in the door. So, I can continue to push the boundaries of what I imagined I could do with my life, and I will use this amazing opportunity to open the door for other young girls who, like younger me, might not have realised that journalism is a viable career path. I’m particularly looking forward to writing more about women's rights and gender equality issues from an intersectional standpoint and to experiment with various reporting mediums.
Sammy Gecsoyler
Goldsmith’s college, University of London
In Year 6, I made my first foray into journalism, writing and publishing a short-lived magazine that adorned my primary school’s reception area, sitting alongside leaflets advertising healthy eating and the local car boot sale. At university, I turned my attention to documentary film-making, gaining a place on the Grierson Trust’s DocLab, a scheme that equipped me with practical film-making and editorial skills.

After graduating from the University of Sussex, obtaining a degree in Geography and International Development, I was unemployed for over six months - this was despite sending off hundreds of applications for a range of roles in different industries. After months of dwindling confidence in my own abilities, I finally got some news I thought would never arrive. I got a job - a traineeship at Hat Trick Productions. This was thanks to the PACT Diversity Scheme. My six-month contract turned into a two and a half year stint at the company. The highlight was working as a Researcher on Have I Got News For You for three series, where I learnt key editorial skills and was fortunate enough to spend my days consuming print and broadcast news.

I firmly believe that journalism is the hand that yanks injustice out of the shadows. I have seen first-hand how underreported issues are ignored until it’s too late, systemic issues being treated with indifference until tragedy strikes. Having a workforce that is representative across race, class and disability is key in ensuring stories are reported in a timely, accurate and considered manner. This is why the Scott Trust bursary is such an important opportunity.

I am excited to highlight issues that reflect my own experiences. These include gentrification and the trials and tribulations of working-class Londoners in a rapidly changing city. I am also keen to explore stories relating to the Turkish diaspora in Britain, a community that is often misrepresented in the media due to poor workplace representation within the industry.
Safi Bugel
The University of Sheffield
Enthusiastic about archiving, independent print and all things DIY, I began writing music reviews and musings for fanzines as a teenager. I decided to pursue journalism more seriously as a History undergraduate at the University of Leeds, where I published features for the student newspaper, before being elected to fill the sabbatical post of Editor-in-Chief. Here, I was also involved with student radio, finding a passion for both production and hosting. It was an avenue for me to discuss social issues I cared about whilst channelling my keen interest in music.

I have since worked with media outlets such as gal-dem, Dazed, DJ Mag and BBC Radio 4 on a freelance basis. Through interviews, long-form features and news pieces, I aim to platform underrepresented communities, subcultures and the voices within them. My ideas are always in some way informed by my own experiences and culture, as well as those of my peers.

Thanks to the Scott Trust Bursary scheme, I will be starting my Journalism MA at the University of Sheffield in September. I look forward to developing my voice as a news reporter and eventually holding institutions to account. I also look forward to continuing my work as a story-teller, bringing new perspectives to music and arts journalism.

With a media that still only reflects a select few, breaking into the industry as a queer, disabled woman of colour from a state school background often feels impossible. I am yet to see people like myself adequately represented in journalism and other creative fields, so this scheme makes pursuing my goals, and facilitating change, seem much more attainable.
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