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The latest round of applications for the Journalism Diversity Fund is one of four due to run this year

The Journalism Diversity Fund, run by the National Council for the Training of Journalists, opened to applications this month for courses starting between September 2012 and August next year.

The latest round of funding applications, which launched earlier this month, is one of four due to run this year and applications for the first round can be made until 20 April.

Bursaries are offered by the NCTJ for "people from socially and ethnically diverse backgrounds who have applied for a place on an NCTJ-accredited journalism course" and require some financial backing.

"If successful, you could have the cost of your course and examination fees paid for; receive contributions to your living expenses during your training; complete the NCTJ qualifications editors ask for; and gain support from a personal mentor," the NCTJ said in a release.

"Editors recognise it is vital that journalists reporting the news reflect the communities they serve, so if you would like to get a head start in one of the most exciting careers around and bring diversity into the newsroom then the Journalism Diversity Fund would like to hear from you."

More details can be found on the fund's website which also sets out the criteria for those who wish to apply for a bursary.

There is also a form available to download online which local or national newspaper editors can use to nominate "people from their local communities for Journalism Diversity Fund bursaries". These must be accompanied by the individual's own application form as well.

According to the schedule online the applicant shortlist will be announced on 18 May and then interviews will be carried out on 1 June before successful applicants are told on 8 June.

The Journalism Diversity Fund first launched in 2005, with just one round of funding. Last year the fund received 156 applications, with 20 people receiving a bursary.

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