Interviewing a pasty-eating former shadow chancellor and providing on-the-ground analysis to Radio 4’s Today programme are just two of the adventures experienced by a trainee reporter covering her first election in a key battleground.
Kimberly Middleton, 23, is a trainee reporter based in the Truro office of the West Briton. Kimberly graduated from the NCTJ-accredited BA (hons) Multimedia Journalism course at Bournemouth University in 2007. She completed the NCTJ preliminary Certificate in Journalism at the same time as her degree and is due to sit the NCE in July.
Upon graduating, Kimberly joined the West Briton as a trainee reporter and is now covering the general election in one of the most hotly contested marginal seats in the country.
Kimberly said: “The seat of Truro and Falmouth has been held by the Liberal Democrats since 1974 and for the past 23 years it has been held by Matthew Taylor MP.
“But Matthew Taylor is standing down at this election. Last year the local council became a unitary authority and the Conservatives won a lot more seats. With electoral boundary changes the Conservative party has suddenly identified Truro and Falmouth as a winnable seat and we have been visited by the big guns from both parties.”
“I know it sounds a bit sad but it’s been great, I never realised politics could be this interesting. I’ve got to meet a lot of people who will probably have a key role in the next government. Nick Clegg was here before the election and George Osborne came to St Austell and was munching on a pasty in the high street when I spoke to him.”
Last week Kimberly got to meet Andrew Lansley, previously the Conservative shadow health secretary, and following her interview she was asked to give her thoughts to broadcast journalist Kevin Connolly for Radio 4’s the Today programme.
Kimberly added: “Kevin and the team from Radio 4 were looking for a different angle to a national election and I feel it was recognised the local reporters were the media who truly understood what was happening in the seat.”
“As a local journalist born and bred in Cornwall, I’m loving every minute of this election. I think the NCTJ public affairs syllabus really helped me to understand the basics of what is happening in this seat and I am enjoying it a lot because of that training.
“I had a great time at Bournemouth University and learnt an awful lot, and I feel very lucky to have been trained by people such as Tom Hill and Karen Fowler-Watt who have first-hand knowledge of the industry and know what it takes to break into the industry!”
As all journalists will know there is a price to pay for being at the sharp end of a political battle.
Kimberly added: “I’m down to work all night on election night – I’m sure there will be at least one recount!”