Margareta Pagano is business editor of the Independent on Sunday. She is one of the UK's leading financial journalists and has worked for the Guardian, Times and Sunday Telegraph as well as being city editor of the Sunday Correspondent.
She was one of the founding editors and an associate editor of eFinancialnews, the City newspaper and online news service and has helped turn this specialist newspaper into one of the City's premier online news services which is now part of Dow Jones. She appears regularly on Bloomberg TV and the BBC and writes for Spectator magazine.
Margareta completed her NCTJ training at Harlow College and has happy memories of her time there. She says:
“My fondest memory of Harlow is being blown around the corners of the grey block buildings, usually towards the Wimpy burger cafe not far from the college.
“Life was so simple then - when we weren't studying shorthand (NB Pitman to 120 wpm) or typing (40 a minute I think) we were either in the bar of the Playhouse learning how to be proper hacks, or at the Wimpy learning how to recover properly. Here we were, 30 or so wannabe reporters from all around the country and from such different experiences, in this oddest of towns, which we nicknamed 'windy city', to learn a trade which most of us believed was still the most glamorous and noble in the world. I suspect it was this shared ambition, not necessarily articulated, which made it seem so very, very exciting.
“Some of us were lucky enough to be sponsored by generous employers, mine being the great Eastern Counties Newspapers. This meant we were perhaps more relaxed about the adventure, knowing we had jobs to go to - although the 120wpm demanded by our Norfolk benefactors hovered like a black cloud over us. Others were more of the gambling sort, taking the course in the hope that a year of being exposed to and shaped by some of Fleet Street's finest would open the doors to their futures too.
“In between the shorthand and typing, during which the boys grunted and groaned in a like-minded chorus, we rather took for granted the courses on law, public administration and government but woke up when asked to write stories. If truth be told, I'm not sure any of us had a clue about the world we were entering. It didn't matter. What we did learn was that reporting is a simple craft requiring certain basics; curiosity, cheek and never, ever giving up. Whenever I'm asked by teenagers about how they can get into journalism I tell them to head for the nearest town or city which has an NCTJ course, and maybe even a Wimpy.“