University and Degree: English Literature, University College London, then Diploma in Magazine Journalism, Cardiff University
When did you decide to apply to do a diploma in Journalism? About January 2008, as everyone on the student magazine I had worked on followed this path and had made it into the world of journalism. I thought it would be a fun thing to do!
What made you pick the Diploma over the MA option? It’s about £3000 cheaper. Also, this is a vocational course, not an academic one, so why should it carry the theoretic weight of an MA? Wouldn’t make sense.
Where did you go to do your research about courses? Speaking to friends and relatives, and also looking for employer’s opinions.
What made you choose Cardiff and where else did you look? Bearing in mind the number of journalism courses out there – and their being viewed by many as ‘Mickey Mouse’ subjects – I felt it was worth applying to either Cardiff or City. I chose Cardiff as I felt the facilities were better, the environment was friendlier, and I wanted to leave London. Being frank, I wouldn’t waste your money on a course at anywhere that isn’t Cardiff, City or at a push, Goldsmiths.
What are you enjoying most about your course? The outside lecturers on the ‘Reporters and Reported’ module. They are generally editors from newspapers, magazines and broadcasters, and probably have been the best lectures of my academic career.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing young journalists? Getting a job. Sadly most work is now going to freelancers, so there are very few stable jobs anywhere in the media. Best advice is to start sooner rather than later and be very serious about what you want to do. Half the people who say they want to be journalists are just lazily considering it for want of anything else to do, and half the people who say they really are journalists are actually just writing reviews of CDs on Amazon. Be professional and you will stand out from the crowd.
How are you funding your course? A mixture of money I’ve earned, my scholarship from the School (and my grandmother).
What would be your best piece of advice for aspiring young writers? You need to learn Photoshop, InDesign and know how to use a Content Management System (CMS). Keep a blog live, and have a basic understanding of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). You can no longer be just ‘a writer’ – you would be worthless in this capacity.