Breaking into News finalist on why “everyone deserves the chance to have their voice heard”

Posted 25 July 2018

Our ITV Granada Breaking into News finalist, Francesca Dean wants to see more people with disabilities in front of the camera. She tells us how the competition, which gives ten aspiring journalists the chance to create their own report with ITV News, has given her the chance to encourage others to break into the industry.

I applied to Breaking into News because having a disability, such as cerebral palsy, isn’t often portrayed in the public eye.

Even to this present day there’s still a stigma attached to having a disability and this shouldn’t be the case. Everyone deserves the chance to have their voice heard.

When I applied to the competition I had just started as a receptionist and ambassador at Blackburn Youth Zone, a youth facility open to young people from all backgrounds and ability. The Youth Zone and the young people we support were the inspiration behind my report.

I hope I have inspired others with a disability that may have lost hope or be unsure about what the future holds. I want them to see that if I can achieve this, then so can they.

Focus on youth loneliness

The report focuses specifically on youth loneliness, which unfortunately, many of our young people have to face on a daily basis. A recent survey by ONS revealed that young adults aged 16 to 24 years reported feeling lonely more often than those in older age groups. Youth zones across the country are doing an amazing job to try and address this and ensure loneliness doesn’t become a taboo issue.

Francesca sits in front of computer editing news report

Francesca editing her news report at ITV Granada

Inspiring others

By reaching the final of the Breaking into News competition I hope I have inspired others with a disability that may have lost hope or be unsure about what the future holds. I want them to see that if I can achieve this, then so can they.

I would recommend applying to Breaking into News to anyone with a disability because the possibilities within journalism are endless. Disability and inclusion needs to be taken more seriously within the television industry and the competition is the perfect way to highlight this.

Francesca stands with ITV Granada presenters Tony and Lucy

Francesca with ITV Granada presenters Lucy Meacock and Tony Morris.

ITV News mentors

My mentors Producer, Anna Youssef and Reporter, Sarah Rogers from ITV Granada have helped me to deliver my ideas and supported me every step of the way. They’ve given me an amazing insight into the real world of a reporter.

I feel elated to be chosen as a finalist because the reaction from family, friends and social media has been fantastic! I’ve also had the chance to tour the Emmerdale set, watch regional news break from the gallery and meet people from all walks of life. It’s just beyond anything I could ever imagine. I’m getting very excited about everyone watching my report and the awards ceremony in London! When Breaking into News finishes I can’t wait to start my next chapter.

Watch Francesca’s final report created with support from her mentors ITV Granda’s Anna Youssef and Sarah Rogers and others from the ITV Granada team.

Francesca will join nine other finalists, each representing a different ITV News region, at the Breaking into News final on the 25 June where the 2018 winner be announced.

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