Celebrating diversity in journalism on International Women’s Day

Andrew Hughes, International Director of NLA media access presenting Joanne Butcher, Chief Executive of the NCTJ with a cheque for £100,000 at the annual Journalism Diversity Fund celebratory event.

Today is International Women’s Day (IWD) and looking back across the events that unfolded over the past year, it’s more significant than ever. Since last year’s IWD, we’ve seen women’s marches across the globe, the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the #MeToo & #TimesUp movements unfold, gender pay gap reporting and the 100-year anniversary of women’s right to vote.

Gender equality is part of a wider issue; businesses are not as diverse as they need to be. Many studies have shown that diverse groups of people have a higher group intellect and are more profitable for businesses. In journalism, diversity allows an outlet to reduce bias, as well as bring together a group of people with varied backgrounds and experiences to be able to report on the huge variety of stories that happen every day. That is why we support the Journalism Diversity Fund (JDF), a bursary scheme which we have supported since the fund’s inception in 2005. Our last donation in was £100,000, bringing NLA’s total contribution to the fund to over £1.2 million.

The JDF was set up by the newspaper industry in 2005. The aim of the JDF is to create a route for aspiring journalists from ethnically and socially diverse backgrounds. The bursary supports them in their NCTJ Diploma in Journalism studies, recognised as the kite mark qualification in the industry which provides them with the solid foundation on which to enter  the newsroom and represent the diverse communities they report on. Along with major donations from NLA media access, the Journalism Diversity Fund is supported by Bloomberg, the BBC, DMG Media, Sky, the Press Association, the Financial Times, The Printing Charity, Thomson Reuters and Google News Lab.

Donations over the years have helped drive real change in the industry, supporting aspiring journalists from differing backgrounds. Since its launch, the Journalism Diversity Fund has awarded bursaries to 257 students, helping them start a career in journalism which many would not have found possible without the funding. This has increased the prevalence of journalists from a wide range of socially and ethnically diverse backgrounds.

One such example is Khaleda Rahman: currently working at the Daily Mail. She was awarded a JDF bursary in 2012 to complete her fast-track Diploma in Journalism with News Associates London. Commenting on her experience Khaleda said:

“Thanks to the funding I received from the Journalism Diversity Fund, I was able to get my NCTJ qualification without stressing about finances while studying. After qualifying, I worked as an intern for the JDF and helped other students working towards their NCTJ. Then, I got my foot in the door of the newspaper industry with an internship at a local newspaper that I secured thanks to the continued support I received from the JDF. From there, I went on to land a place on the MailOnline graduate scheme and have recently returned to London after stints in New York and Sydney. It’s safe to say I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today if not for the JDF!

Andrew Hughes, International Director of NLA media access commented:

“NLA media access is owned by the UK press, and our mission is supporting journalism by ensuring businesses which rely on newspaper content can do so easily and legally. The board and staff of the NLA are proud of our association with the great work done by the NCTJ Journalism Diversity Fund, and especially with the recipients of the JDF bursaries.”

When accepting the donation, NCTJ Chief Executive, Joanne Butcher, stated:

“I’d like to sincerely thank NLA media access, the Journalism Diversity Fund’s lead sponsor. This generous donation, which has been made annually since 2005, is very welcome and never taken for granted.”

The deadline for the first round of 2018 applications for the Journalism Diversity Fund bursaries is on 25th April. For the full schedule, please click here.


Past, Present and Future


NLA's mission in supporting quality journalism has never been more important.  At a time when 'fake news' is rife and the threat to publishers of digital platforms such as Google and Facebook is only increasing, NLA is returning record-breaking royalties to publishers for their content. 

In 2017 we saw revenues increase to more than £43.8 million which meant the distribution to shareholders and publishers grew by 3.7%.  Our client base surpassed 10,000 licensees for the first time, and we provided more content to more media monitoring companies (MMOs) than ever before.

We also experienced significant growth in our international business, with six new agreements allowing companies abroad to re-use UK newspaper content legally and for UK companies to do the same with foreign news.

This was all achieved on a backdrop of internal company restructuring and innovation. NLA media access has acted as a conduit between publishers, MMOs and licensees for many years, however as both industries have evolved, so must we, and considerable effort was - and will continue to be - put into new products and services NLA can offer to enhance the respective organisations’ operations.

Whilst the fruits of much of our labour will be seen throughout this year (and beyond), we did launch eClips Web Specialist in late 2017, allowing participating MMOs uninterrupted and reliable access to 14 specialist paywalled websites, with many more in development.


Prime Minister announces review into the future of British press

On 6th February 2018, Prime Minister Theresa May announced a review into the future of newspapers. Speaking in Manchester, the Prime Minister noted that the closure of titles was a “danger to our democracy”. She also highlighted that journalism is “a huge force for good”, but is under threat due to modern technology, falling circulations, and the closure of local papers.

In a press release issued by The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, it was outlined that the review will examine the overall health of the news media, the range of news available and how the press is adapting to the new digital market.

The review will also focus on the local and regional press, the operation of the digital advertising supply chain, as well as ‘clickbait’ and low quality news.

Commenting on the news David Dinsmore, News Media Association (NMA) chairman, said, "The NMA welcomes this announcement on behalf of the national, regional and local news media industry. This review acknowledges the importance of journalism in a democratic society, the vital role that the press takes in holding the powerful to account and producing verified news which informs the public.

“Viable business models must be found that ensure a wide variety of media are able to have a long and healthy future. Through digital platforms, news content is more widely consumed than ever before but the revenues to sustain the investment in that quality content are challenged. This review on a sustainable future is very welcome.”

Henry Jones, Managing Director at NLA media access comments, “NLA media access provides an important source of revenue to hundreds of UK publishers and is committed to continuing to support quality journalism. We welcome the government’s announcement and believe more should be done to protect the future of our world-class national, regional and local news.

“With the increasing number of threats to journalism, from the rise of digital platforms challenging revenue streams, to the growing presence of fake news adding questions of authority and authenticity, now more than ever it is important to do what we can to support news publishers, so they can continue to uphold their role in society.”

Read more about how NLA media access supports journalism here.


NLA media access expands overseas content for licensees by growing portfolio with two international agreements

NLA media access has bolstered its range of international partnerships with the inclusion of both Poland and Australia to its portfolio of news content. This means that NLA licence holders now have access to, and the ability to share, significantly more content from across the globe.


January 2018 saw NLA media access partner with Copyright Agency (Australia) which allows licence holders access to leading Australian content from the likes of Australian Financial Review, The Australian and Sydney Morning Herald.

NLA has also extended the rights it grants Copyright Australia for UK content to include most Asia Pacific countries.


In late 2017, Polish news licensing body Repropol and NLA media access agreed an exchange of rights. This agreement allows both organisations to license each other’s content to their respective media monitoring clients and licensees creating an even more comprehensive solution.

Jan Ruranski, board member at Repropol, added: “Extending our licence coverage to include leading UK content will be welcomed by our users, and our publishers will benefit from NLA’s licensing of Polish content in the UK.  The new agreement demonstrates our commitment to licensing, and to working in partnership with the many established licensing bodies, both in Europe and further afield.”

2018 and beyond

Commenting on the two agreements, Andrew Hughes, International Director at NLA media access, noted:

“With the growth of a globalised media landscape, it’s our job to make sure our licensees can access the content they need.

“Ease of use is essential for everyone and these partnerships are further steps towards making copyright compliance easier for users of monitoring services. Our users in the UK and abroad have requested wider coverage and we are responding. This is a further significant extension of the NLA international content offering and we are confident the UK and international markets will welcome this development” 

With a mission to support journalism as well as provide the best possible service for media monitoring companies and clients, NLA media access will be announcing more agreements this year to further extend its service.

About NLA media access

NLA media access was first established in 1996 and protects the publishing industry's copyright through collective licensing.  Its role is to enable over 200,000 organisations, including media monitoring clients and licensees, to reproduce content from over 3,600 newspaper and magazine titles with permission. Since its creation, NLA’s portfolio has expanded and currently consists of thousands of titles, both online and in print. In 2016, the company returned £36m to publishers. NLA also offers several cost saving services for publishers, including Clipshare - a fully searchable archive of newspaper and magazine content dating back to 2006. 


Why regional and local publishers are winning readers’ trust

With the rise of smartphones and digital platforms over the last ten years, online news content has risen exponentially. While undoubtedly this has put pressure on the publishers of regional and local newspapers, it has also created an exciting prospect for them.

An opportunity to earn audience trust

A survey from Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University found that trust in social media is declining. The research found that just 18% of those in the UK believe that social media does a good job of separating fact from fiction.

These circumstances have fostered a unique opportunity for local and regional newspapers, as a good example of being a source of information in the media.

Establishing trust with audiences is a topic that was echoed at the recent Digital Journalism Summit, hosted by Press Gazette. In the words of Newsquest CEO Henry Faure Walker, “Local news brands beat Facebook hands down when it comes to trust and relevance”.

The importance of this cannot be understated for regional and local publishers. While trust in credibility has declined in the ever-increasingly fragmented world of the general media, regional and local publishers can boast long-standing credibility with their audiences.

In fact, Faure Walker stressed this when he went on to say, “At Newsquest most of our daily news sites are read at least once a month by over 70% of adults in our respective towns and cities across the U.K.  When you consider that Facebook’s audience penetration is only 50% and now plateauing, you start to appreciate the power of local news brands.”

Another attendee of the Summit, Alison Gow of Trinity Mirror Regionals, built on this, saying: “People care about what affects them, and the human faces at the front of it. Gain the trust of people – know your patch, and get good content. Let people tell the story.”

With a focus on what’s happening in the community, local and regional papers have a track record of putting people at the heart of their news content and in turn, earn trust with their readers.

An opportunity to deliver trust to advertisers

Trust builds brand loyalty; something that’s particularly important as news consumption habits evolve.  In an ever-changing and challenging market, regional publishers are working together, not against each other. One result of this collaboration is 1XL, which represents over 30 regional newspaper publishers.

Speaking directly to NLA media access, Faure Walker (also one of the founders of 1XL) said: Online, local news sites are nearly three times more trusted than social media. Brands who advertise with us know that they will not appear next to any inappropriate content.  Unlike Facebook or YouTube, our content is curated and checked by thousands of hard-working professional journalists up and down the country.

“And because of this we deliver great results for our advertisers.  Through industry collaboration such as 1XL, which brings together 30 regional publishers across the UK, we have also become much easier to transact with.

“It is vital that national advertisers and their ad agencies make the most of what we have to offer as a sector.  And they can do so in the knowledge that advertising with us also helps to sustain great local journalism, a great public good and a backbone of local democracy.”

What NLA media access is doing in the fight for real news  

NLA works hard to support publishers wherever possible and will continue to do so.  The company not only provides copyright protection to these trusted publishers, but it also returns over 80 per cent of revenue back to national and regional publishers allowing them to reinvest this money into supporting quality journalism.

If you want to find out more about what we do, head to the company’s website:

And to take a look at what NLA is doing to help combat fake news, find out about our OATS product here.