Emily Braeger

Daily Express

Emily Braeger started on the Express training scheme in August last year - her first job in journalism - during a tricky time when working from home was still the norm due to the ongoing Covid restrictions.

Since then she has transformed from a keen student amateur into a professional, rigorous and impactful journalist. While reporting on March's Spring Statement and the ongoing Cost of Living crisis, she recognised that some of the UK most vulnerable people were being overlooked. After interviewing struggling mum Susanne Crosby for a case study, she realised there was a much more significant issue. Susanne was reduced to eating just yoghurts because of the cost of running life-saving machinery for her daughter Mia. Emily initially pitched the story to the news desk, but it was so strong it became the basis for a new hard-hitting campaign - End the Disability Bills Crisis - which launched in May. Emily has spearheaded the crusade ever since. She quickly formulated a collection of contacts in the disabled community, from struggling families with young, sick children to leading charities in the industry. More than 10 charities, numerous MPs and consumer affairs expert Martin Lewis were quick to back the campaign which laid bare the grim reality of the crisis. The intention of the campaign is to hold the Government and energy companies to account, illustrate the uncomfortable truth, push for change by asking for it directly, and to give “a voice to those who do not have one in the corridors of power”, as the charity Scope described it when asked about the impact of Emily’s ongoing campaign. After this, and a number of visits to affected disabled families to see the extent of the problem herself, came a series of tear-jerking and hard-hitting exclusive stories, highlighting the exact areas the community is struggling with, and how those with more power can help. Soon after the launch, Rishi Sunak, the chancellor at the time, announced that disabled people would get a £150 cost-of-living payment to help with soaring energy bills. Scope praised Emily for her “tireless” campaign work and which “encouraged the Government to issue landmark support for disabled people and attracted comment from the Disability Minister”. The campaign won huge support from Express readers, and disabled families across the country thanked Emily for her determination to secure more financial support for those who need it most. Dan McEvoy, the father of two disabled daughters who featured in the campaign, said: “The campaign itself was a massive success and I have no doubt that this is down to Emily’s sensitive and compassionate portrayal of how rising energy costs have an impact on families who run medical equipment at home.” At only 22 years old, Emily has shone a light on the struggles of disabled people and provided a loudhailer from which they can shout. In a little over a year of her professional journey, she has already made real, positive change, both personally and to the wider world.