Mentorships can be a valuable way to help journalists of all experience levels develop their reporting skills, progress at their company and hit their long-term career goals.
They are not reserved for young journalists though; editors and other senior journalists can too benefit from having an expert to turn to for advice and useful tips borne out of years of cracking the craft.
But where can you find these opportunities and how do you know if they are a good fit?
Journalism.co.uk looked at some mentorship opportunities. We emailed some of the mentors and mentees involved about the value of mentorship, and where journalists can hope to progress if they get in touch.
Media Mentors Program (MMP)
Run by journalism-internships.com, this programme offers a range of different mentors in the US with a variety of specialisms and it welcomes applicants from overseas.
It has plenty of journalists with experience across different parts of the industry. Plus it covers wider sectors too, including PR, marketing, product and engineering roles. While there are many traditional roles, like investigative journalists and general reporters, there are also those working in podcasts and audience engagement.
No deadlines to worry about. Anyone can use the website to set up an initial meeting with the mentor and arrange ongoing sessions.
Find your mentor here. Simply schedule a call with a mentor via the Calendly link on their profile to get started. NB: some of the links to mentor's calendars seem to have expired and/or require updating.
Digital Women Leaders (DWL)
Like MMP, this is a database of mentors who are available on a rolling basis and can be contacted through the platform to arrange mentorship sessions. The DWL is aimed specifically at women and all the available mentors are experienced women journalists. It is open worldwide but the majority of mentors are US-based.
The website allows you to filter by topic, language spoken, organisation, or name. This is useful for very specific issues, as you can find the right mentors to help lead a male-dominated newsroom, managing parenthood, finding new expertise, switching career path and much more.
Find your mentor here and get in touch today.
PressPad host mentorships
Sticking with student-orientated mentorship opportunities, PressPad is like any other scheme available in the UK. It helps students who have secured a London-based, month-long internship with an industry mentor, to lodge with (and learn from) them for the duration of the placement.
During the coronavirus pandemic, as you can imagine, this has proved problematic. But the organisation has successfully crowdfunded to continue its remote operations in 2021, and a new portal for applications is also under construction.
PressPad is accepting limited applications. You can apply for hosting and mentorship in one go via the internship application page.
European Journalism Centre (EJC) Freelance Journalism Assembly
The EJC launched the assembly back in June 2020 to empower and connect freelance media professionals in Europe to help them weather the particularly adverse conditions brought on by covid-19. In addition to training and online events, it also provides mentorship.
It is tough being self-employed at the best of times. The assembly focuses its support on helping with personal branding, personal finances, wellbeing and safety, pitching and negotiation.
The first programme finished its run in October 2020, but EJC says that calls to participate in future sessions and events will open soon. Signing up now will also get you access to the in-person event in 2021.
Women in Journalism (WIJ) mentoring schemes
The WIJ network has nurtured around 400 mentees over the last five years on its mentoring schemes, run for both senior and junior women journalists working on print, broadcast and online. They are exclusively available to WIJ members (which you can join here).
The network is comprised of some of the most experienced female print, broadcast and online journalists and editors. They can help with career decisions, assigning goals, tweaking job applications and CVs, or simply a supportive and familiar face when times get tough.
Solutions Journalism Network (SJN) mentorship programme
In what has been a dismal year for news stories, perhaps what you are seeking in your journalism is a more solutions-focused approach. SJN runs a mentorship scheme which could be ideal for you if you need some practical advice and encouragement to get serious about solutions journalism.
The scheme allows applicants to pick a mentor of their choice from the Solutions Story Tracker®, with the target of producing one proper solutions story by the end of one-year programme. Ideally, applicants should already have some experience in this field.
Applications for the programme have now closed. You can register your interest in the 2021 scheme now and you will be notified when applications are open.
Student Publication Association (SPA) mentorship scheme
The SPA has runs an annual mentorship scheme which is an ideal opportunity for budding reporters trying to build their professional profile whilst studying at university.
The SPA has recruited 30 mentors from the worlds of political reporting, sports writing, news, features, and digital journalism to name a few. Mentors will help students to craft CVs, cover letters, pitching guidance and work experience advice.
Applications for the 2021 scheme have closed. Bookmark and return to this opportunity at the end of the year when applications for 2022 restart.
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This article was first published on 15 January 2020 by Jacob Granger, and was updated on 7 January 2021 to remove mentorship opportunities no longer running and to include the schemes by DWL, SPA, PressPad and EJC. The MMP, WIJ and SJN schemes have also been updated with new information.
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