During my undergraduate degree, I followed my personal interest in journalism and took my first steps into starting a career. I never thought about doing a master’s in journalism until, on a whim, I went to an open day and was told all about the world of writing.
I look back at myself as a naive, small-minded individual that had a passion for news but had no idea where to go from there; I had an immense amount of growing to do.
My studies have pushed me in ways unimaginable to me a year ago. I’ve got a job straight out of university and I’ve learnt some sort of language along the way too (still trying to grasp that one).
At times, I thought journalism wasn’t for me and I was too far in the deep end. With the incredible support of my colleagues and tutors, it is overwhelming that I’m finally at the end of my studies now.
The media law module taught me things I didn’t even know existed. Now, I feel that I have been empowered with knowledge of legal terminology and skills I can take with me into the working world. Learning about copyright has saved me a few near misses at being taken to court, or angry messages from readers.
My biggest struggle throughout the course was the mere basics of writing an article. I kept (and still) forget what needs to be past tense and what doesn’t, how to write a snazzy headline and an informative introduction. These downfalls played on my confidence, as I felt to be a journalist this is something I should already be confident in. Talking to reporters, editors, and colleagues, I realised it is something that will come with time and like learning how to ride a bike, will become second nature shortly (I’d like it to hurry up though, I’m impatient).
Something I never thought about was how vicarious trauma could affect me in my career. This part of the social media module was fascinating to me, as I learnt that 58% of journalists see a distressing image or video weekly which can cause problems similar to PTSD. I was now aware of the parts of journalism that were not openly spoken about, but I was not deterred.
My favourite module was the news journalism skills and digital production practical module as I learnt the most from it. Even though I struggled with video editing, I felt I have learnt so much in my time. Video editing took some time to get a grasp on, and I often felt I was unable to complete the tasks. Passing the video journalism exam and completing my video for portfolio two showed me that I am capable and can push myself. With the support of everyone around me, I was able to achieve things I never knew I could do.
A key skill that I will continue to use throughout my journalism career is the power of social media in story finding and how to use it to the best of its ability. Tweetdeck opened my eyes to a simple, easy way to locate stories or find leads. It’s something that I have used religiously from the start of the course to now, and I will continue to use it throughout my career.
This course has made me aware of the complexity of journalism, and how it isn’t just writing an article. It is a multi-layered skill, and the course has given me invaluable knowledge into how to kick-start my career. Scary, but thrilling.