Serlina Boyd School
Cocoa School of Journalism and Creative Arts aims to nurture children interested in news journalism, podcasting, and story writing. (Photo: Serlina Boyd)

The media industry has recently been debated due to its lack of diversity. According to a report by the Sutton Trust, only 0.02% of journalists are Black, and 80% of top editors attended private schools.

However, a new journalism school in the UK aims to tackle this issue by teaching children from diverse backgrounds the skills they need to thrive in the industry. The Cocoa School of Journalism and Creative Arts is the brainchild of Serlina Boyd and her daughter Faith.

The community has reportedly received the school well, with fifty enrolments for two courses since opening its doors on April 8th. Boyd was inspired to launch the school after the success of Cocoa Girl, the UK's first primary Black children's magazine, which she established with Faith during lockdown in 2020.

The magazine has grown into a multi-million-pound business, with plans to expand to the US in September. Boyd hopes the school will help combat diversity problems in the British news media. The school seeks to remove barriers for disadvantaged pupils in gaining the necessary education to pursue a journalism career.

It provides the skills to write narratives from a young age, encouraging children to use their voices to speak out and write their stories. The school teaches news reporting skills and provides video editing, illustration, and creative writing classes.

The school supports children with special needs and has a parent's and children's storytelling centre. Boyd said she had been thrilled by the response from the children so far.

She said, "It's brought a tear to my eye just to see how enthusiastic they are and how they want to return... They've all now written their books, which are part of our Bloomsbury competition with the same publishers as J.K. Rowling."

Boyd sees the children's eagerness to write for Cocoa Girl publication and their interest in "interviewing famous people" as another motivating factor in starting the school. She wanted to expand on that and show them other avenues they could go down.

The school's impact is already being felt, with children from diverse backgrounds gaining the skills and confidence to pursue careers in media. It's a step in the right direction towards greater diversity in the industry.

The Cocoa School of Journalism and Creative Arts sets an excellent example for other organizations. It provides a platform for children from diverse backgrounds to learn essential skills, build confidence, and pursue their careers in the media industry.