Half a million is a massive number. It’s more people than were packed into Wembley Stadium next to me for the Spice Girl’s Reunion tour earlier this year. It’s more people than in the whole of Edinburgh. And it’s more people than we’ve ever helped before.
2019 was a massive year for Journo Resources. From its decidedly low-key beginnings in 2016 as a website I set up in my bedroom, it finally became a site I left my staff job for.
We won an international fellowship to create the world’s first choose your own adventure game about solutions journalism, were listed as one of WeAreTheCity’s Top 100 women’s projects, and I got a grant so I could finally own my own laptop. I’m writing on it now, and it makes a really satisfying sound when you type on the keys.
But, more importantly, we helped a lot of people. Last year alone, more than 105,000 people used the Journo Resources website. That’s almost 80 percent more than the year before.
We met 1,000 more people in person at events across the country and gave personal advice over email to another 300 people. Which, I can tell you, is a lot of emails to send.
Our email newsletter went weekly, and while it continues to be the bane of my life, it now goes out to almost 4,000 people. We’ve listed more than 1,500 jobs on our website alone – and dozens of you have got in touch to tell us about the gigs you’ve got as a result.
Alongside our excellent staff writer Alex Ekong, this year we’ve also directly published – and paid – 30 diverse, new voices on our website. But, in short, we know that to fix journalism’s diversity problem we need to do more.
90% Of Journalists Are White, Just 11% Are Working Class
The latest statistics surrounding journalism still aren’t much better than they were when we started three years ago. More than 90 percent of journalists are white, just 11 percent are working class (compared to 60 percent of the population), and two-thirds are based in London and the South East.
Every industry needs to be open to everyone, but it’s even more important in journalism. After all, if journalism doesn’t reflect the society we live in, how will we ever report on the issues that really matter? And how do you open up the doors to an industry that’s secretive and opaque?
For us, we believe it’s about both breaking down the information blocks and offering people tangible advice and paid opportunities. And that doesn’t stop once you’ve got a foot in the door – we’re here for you across every step of your career.
So, for 2020, we’ve set ourselves and ambitious target. We’re going to help half a million people. Whether that’s through using our website, attending event in person, getting advice online, or having their work published, we know we need to do more to really shift the dial.
We Need You – And 29 Other People
To reach this target, we’ve got a lot of plans. We want to get more people going to our website using new resources, reaching people before they make decisions about things like university, and to be running even more events.
In real terms, this means that in 2020 we want to be:
- Updating our website to make key sections on freelance rates interactive and searchable,
- Building new online, innovative resources like a pitch and CV library, and in-depth guides to specific schemes and areas,
- Offering a new, paid scheme to give diverse young writers their first bylines and coaching from editors,
- Launching a new event series, which offers free and low cost skills across the country,
- Hiring an admin and sales assistant to help the site pay for itself and reach out to more schools, colleges, and unis,
And really, this is just the beginning. But, to do all this, we’re going to need your help. Well, to be precise, you and 29 other people.
Currently, we’re lucky enough to get £150 a month in regular giving, and we really can’t thank those people enough. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to do half of the things we currently do.
We also work on getting cash from other areas – for example, working with our amazing sponsors at JournoLink and Cision Jobs, selling job adverts, and applying for grants. At the moment though, none of us are yet working on the project full time.
An extra £100 a month would make a huge difference to being able to make a start on all of those things. It’s an extra nine hours a month of someone’s time at London Living Wage. It’s almost enough to pay a new writer for their first byline. It could pay for five hours of a developers time.
And to get an extra £100 a month, we need your help. If you and 29 other people gave us just £3 a month, we’d be pretty much over the line already. We know it’s a big ask, and we can’t tell you enough how grateful we are to all of our donors to date – and how much of a difference it makes.
Here’s to 2020 – and we hope the year is truly amazing for you 🥂