BBC News launches £1m scheme for journalists with disabilities in Disability Works week
BBC News is launching a £1 million scheme to recruit, train and develop journalists with disabilities, both visible and hidden, its Director of News James Harding announced today.
We want to be closer to our audiences, a news organisation in touch with what’s on people’s minds, a newsroom that doesn’t talk past people, but speaks to them.
Over the next year, twelve new positions will be created in BBC News’ Mobile and Online teams. The roles will range from broadcast journalists to assistant editors, with the successful applicants working across a wide range of content.
The year-long scheme will include bespoke training and learning and at least half of the roles will become permanent at the end of the year. There will be a mentoring programme for all those selected.
The first of the posts will be advertised shortly both inside and outside the BBC. Details will be available shortly on the BBC Careers website.
Director of BBC News and Current Affairs James Harding says: “We’re transforming the look and sound of BBC News as well as the people who run our programmes and services for two reasons. We’re the greatest news organisation in the world, it should be open to everyone and anyone to come here and thrive. And we want to be closer to our audiences, a news organisation in touch with what’s on people’s minds, a newsroom that doesn’t talk past people, but speaks to them.”
A Disability Talent Pool will also be created so that those who apply for positions but are not selected will be able to feed in ideas and stories to the Mobile and Online teams. This will allow the BBC to find new stories, engage with the wider disabled community and discover new talent.
The announcement comes in a week of special coverage for BBC News across TV, radio and online. The coverage – titled Disability Works – explores the experiences of disabled people in the workforce and as consumers.
Coming from across the UK and around the world, the stories will focus on the experience of disabled entrepreneurs and employees. They will examine how different businesses are innovating to help disabled people and look at the power of the purple pound in the UK and global economy.
As part of the week, BBC News will report from Mumbai where a UK company is hiring blind people as perfumers, and from Wales where a farmer paralysed after a car accident has been able to continue working, thanks to a specially adapted tractor.
They will also report on how the fashion industry has responded to disabled consumers and hear from the South African firm employing disabled welders.
The main day of output is Wednesday 22 February when reports will appear across all BBC News output including Radio 4’s Today Programme, Money Box, the News at Six and Ten on BBC One, BBC News Channel, BBC World News, and BBC Online.
The BBC Ouch podcast will also host a panel of disabled entrepreneurs to discuss and provide practical advice on starting a business.