Image: Monika (left) with ITV News journalist Alastair Stewart
Monika Plaha, 21, from Leamington Spa has today been announced as the winner of this year’s Breaking Into News, an initiative run in partnership by ITV News and Media Trust to discover new talent and identify top broadcast journalists of the future.
The initiative, now in its second year, offers 18-25 year olds the chance to be mentored by experienced broadcast journalists from the ITV News network newsroom in writing, presenting and production skills. This year, Breaking Into News expanded to cover nine regions. A finalist was selected from each and worked with a mentor to develop their idea and turn it into a news report for their local ITV newsroom. The nine finalists then presented their news report to a judging panel including senior executives from ITV News and Media Trust.
Over the last few weeks, Monika has been mentored by Victoria Davies, a Presenter at ITV Central, who worked closely with her as she developed her idea. As the winner, Monika will be presented with an iPad to help with future projects and will have the opportunity to spend the day with the team producing ITV News at Ten.
To enter Breaking Into News, Monika submitted a short description of herself and her background, what she wanted her report to focus on and why she deserved the opportunity to ‘break into news’.
Breaking Into News winner Monika, said: “Winning Breaking Into News is a dream come true. My report looks at the issue of skin lightening in the Asian community and why some people want to use chemicals to change the colour of their skin. It’s been a fantastic opportunity to work with Victoria and learn from her experience and I can’t wait to spend a day with the team at ITV News at Ten and learn even more about broadcast journalism.”
Robin Elias, Managing Editor of ITV News, said: “The standard of entries was extremely high and all the finalists displayed a great deal of talent, so it was a difficult choice, but in the end the judges were unanimous in their praise for Monika. Her final news report is extremely well put together and shows real creativity and skill. Monika should be really proud of what she has achieved.”
Kerry Thorpe, Head of PR at Media Trust, said: “We are delighted to partner with ITV News on Breaking Into News for the second year running and to expand the initiative to provide nine young people with the opportunity to be mentored by some of ITV News’s most esteemed journalists. Monika is a deserving winner and impressed us all with her news report and outstanding pitch.”
You can watch Monika's full report for ITV News here.