A YOUNG former radio presenter from Saltney has been named as a regional finalist in an awards scheme aimed at promoting diversity in broadcast journalism.

Oliver Youd, who is registered blind, is taking part in ITV News and Media Trust initiative ‘Breaking Into News’.

The unique project is fronted by ITV’s award-winning news broadcaster Charlene White and Tahmeena Alam for ITV Wales.

Addressing the need for improved representation of diverse audiences across the industry, ITV News encouraged applications from a wide talent pool attracting local budding broadcast journalists, some who have little to no relevant experience.

Under the professional mentoring of Paul Davies for ITV Wales, Oliver is now in the process of creating a TV news report on the issue of monolingual Welsh speakers which may even be shown on ITV Wales News.

Oliver, 18, said: "There are so many professions which are not particularly accessible to blind people, and therefore many people with such afflictions manage to convince themselves that they are simply not cut out to achieve their dream job.

“Well for once in my life I am making a stand, not just for myself but for the countless blind people who have been told they can't.”

He added: “It has always been my dream to become a journalist, and I feel as though blind people are often denied a chance, well I believe it is time to show those with partial sight that it does not have to be this way, and that any dream can be followed regardless of physical ability."

Speaking about his report on monolingual Welsh speakers, he added: "There are still thousands of people in areas such as Powys, The Llyn Peninsula and Snowdonia who are unable or severely restricted in their English ability.

“As someone who is currently learning Welsh, I think it would be fascinating to see into the lives of those who speak, think and live only in Welsh. Welsh is a fascinating language, which has monolingual speakers as far afield as Y Wladfa, Argentina. It is therefore important that these people are recognised by a media which often forgets about their existence."

Su-Mei Thompson, CEO of Media Trust, said: "It is vital that the media industry is representative of, and speaks to, the diverse range of communities that make up their audiences. At Media Trust, we encourage talent from all walks of life, backgrounds and abilities to pursue careers in the media. Programmes such as Breaking into News allow us to broaden the talent pool and give under-represented communities a voice. I can’t wait to hear the stories that this year’s finalists have to tell.”

Along with nine other finalists from ITV news regions across the UK, Oliver will present his final news report to an esteemed panel of 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).

ITV Mentor Paul Davies for ITV Wales said: "As a former Breaking Into News finalist I know what great an opportunity it is for young people like Oliver. It's his opportunity to gain some great experience in an ITV newsroom and make contacts for the future. Oliver has the passion and talent to make a real impact through this initiative and produce a news report he can be proud of. As his mentor it's my privilege to help make his ambition a reality."

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