UpRising's work covered in the Evening Standard

UpRising's work covered in the Evening Standard

April 6, 2017

This article was first published in the Evening Standard on the 22 March. A link to the original story is here

City Hall hosted aspiring journalists as the stars of the industry’s future were given “speed-mentoring” by established media figures.

At the first event of its type, the London Press Club teamed up with youth leadership group UpRising to pilot a new ‘One Million Mentors’ scheme. 

The event on Monday evening, attended by 140 media professionals, allowed upcoming journalists to secure face-to-face or online mentoring from experienced figures.

Mentors are encouraged to use an online training resource to help advise their mentees and to commit an hour of their time every month this year.

The ninth floor of City Hall was abuzz with anticipation as budding journalists geared up to pick the brains of Fleet Street greats. 

Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow and co-founder of the UpRising charity, spoke about opportunities she had been presented with as a young person, growing up in the East End of London. But, she said, “many young people are cut off from opportunity.”

Ms Ali added: "I felt that we could do something very simple, to give our time, our advice and our support to the younger generation so imagine out of an organisation that's working with thousands of young adults already, imagine if we could scale that up into the hundreds of thousands and potentially to a million over the next decade. We are now piloting in London, Manchester and Cardiff.”

Deputy London Mayor Joanne McCartney expressed support for the programme, saying: “Journalism has always been about who you know so they tend to pick their own, so it’s about breaking those barriers.” 

Chairman of the London Press Club and Managing Editor of the London Evening Standard, Doug Wills, told the aspiring journalists: “Each of us were absolutely lucky to get a start and then stumble our way through.

“There didn’t used to be mentoring as such, there was a guy who pointed us in the right direction who said just do it, just do it right.”

Addressing the aspiring journalists present, he added: “Be committed and keep going, one day a door will open.”

Guest speakers included Emma Howard, a journalist from Greenpeace and UpRising alumnus, and former BBC sports editor Mihir Bose, who spoke about his own experience being mentored. 

"I was very lucky,” he said. “One of my heroes was James Cameron – those of you who want to become a journalist you should go and read his book 'What a way to run the tribe'. 

“It's one of the greatest books of journalism, written on the run all over the world and he gave me his time, spoke to me," he added.

Ms Ali described a formative experience she had had at the age of 17 - a chance encounter with a woman called Kate Gavron who was at the time working with former director of research for the Labour Party, Lord (Michael) Young of Dartington. 

“She introduced me to the author of the 1945 Labour manifesto and that opened up a whole new world for me,” said Ms Ali.

“I got fed experience and met extraordinary people, so you could say by chance I had the best political, social mentorship, apprenticeship a seventeen year old could ever want. I'm not sure I'd be doing these kinds of things today, staring up charities or going into politics if I didn't have patrons who had belief in me, who encouraged me, who gave me confidence at every stage of my career."