Doncaster mum follows dream as a finalist in ITV journalism competition

ITV Studios in Leeds. Picture by Tony Johnson.
ITV Studios in Leeds. Picture by Tony Johnson.

A Doncaster mother who put her "career on hold" has been named a finalist in a nationwide competition to discover up-and-coming journalists.

Media Trust in partnership ITV News has today announced the finalists for ‘Breaking Into News’, and Doncaster mother-of-two Carolyn Gravel is on the shortlist.

Fronted by ITV’s Charlene White and Umar Farouq, the scheme addresses the importance of improving representation and diversity across the broadcast journalism industry.

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ITV News encouraged applications from across the UK, with little or no previous media experience, attracting a wider wealth of promising local talent.

Under the professional mentoring of Umar Farouq for ITV Calendar, Carolyn is now in the process of creating a television news report raising awareness about sun damage and skin cancer for ITV Calendar.

She said: “I am still pinching myself that I am the finalist representing ITV Calendar.

This isn't just a competition to me, it’s a chance to promote a valuable service and a chance for me to highlight something very close to my heart.

"I am a single mother of two and have had my career pretty much on hold so that I can be there for them. When I saw this competition I thought 'wow' and saw it as an exciting learning experience.

"Even at this stage of my life, I think it is healthy to try and follow your dreams and pursue new challenges.”

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Su-Mei Thompson, CEO of Media Trust, said: “Our Breaking into News programme offers people with little to no experience in journalism the chance to share stories about their regions and the help kick-start their careers in news. We are excited to be a part in developing the next generation of broadcast journalists."

Along with nine other finalists from ITV news regions across the UK, Carolyn will present her final news report to a panel of influential judges including Roohi Hasan (ITV News, Senior News Producer), Kate Watkins Tutor (Head of TV News Training, School of Media and Communication, Leeds University), Margaret Emsley (Head of News at ITV Calendar) and Jasmine Dotiwala (Head of Youth Engagement at Media Trust).

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Mentor Umar Farouq, for ITV Calendar, said: "I’m really looking forward to mentoring Carolyn this year.

"It’s my second year taking part in Breaking into News and an honour to pass on my knowledge to aspiring storytellers. Carolyn has some fascinating ideas it will be interesting to see how she develops them on-screen. She has the passion and enthusiasm to go a long way and I have no doubt she's got a bright future in journalism."

One finalist will be selected and will be awarded £400 worth of journalistic equipment and the chance to have their local news report aired on ITV.