The Migrants Resource Centre and The London College of Communication (LCC) are delivering an exciting and unique project. The Refugee Journalism Project aims to help refugees who had successful journalism careers in their country of origin to re-establish their journalism careers in the UK as they face significant barriers yet, their contribution to the industry would be valuable and impact on media diversity.
The portrayal of asylum seekers, refugees and migrants in the UK media is well known to reflect a lack of understanding about migration. Refugees who are qualified journalists many who had to because of their work now find that they are unable to gain employment within the British sector. By assisting refugee journalists to gain employment in the media, this project will enable them to fully contribute to society by using their skills and to have an influence on the biased reporting of matters relating to immigration.
The participants are currently being mentored by UK journalists. We have an overwhelming reaction from UK journalists and have many influential journalists on-board including journalists from the BBC, The Guardian and people who have worked on the frontline during the refugee crisis. They meet with the mentors on a fortnightly basis to develop their own journalistic pieces and gain support and advice of the established professional.
LCC are hosting a range of one day workshops to continue to build on the participant’s skills. We have consulted the refugees directly to select the topics they would like to cover including topics such as English for journalists and self-employment and freelancing. These workshops will allow the refugees to be work ready in the UK.
The participants will partake in work placements in a range of UK media outlets. We are encouraging input from the participants for where they would like work experience will be. We are having a range of trainers, talks and field trips throughout the project which will further allowed the participants to build on their network which is so vital to gaining employment in the UK sector. The participants will also continue to build on their soft skills such as confidence and English language skills.
We have developed online newspaper and website about the project to involve the wider community, share learning from the project and encourage open discussions on relevant topics. The refugees will be directly involved in developing these formats. A report and an end-of-project event will be held next year to share learning to the wider community.
Author: Tessa Hughes, project coordinator