Helen Fospero is a freelance broadcaster and a regular face on ITV’s Daybreak and Lorraine.
“I started work as a junior reporter at the Louth Evening Standard when I was 17. My dad was a journalist and worked at a regional newspaper for 46 years so I couldn’t wait to follow in his footsteps and get cracking straight after my A levels. I’d been tea girl at his paper in all the holidays from the age of 14 so it really was in my blood!
“I had no desire to go to university but jumped at the chance to go to college when my editor offered to send me to Sheffield to complete two block release NCTJ courses.
“It was here I learned to write better; the importance of accuracy; studied law; got to grips with public admin; and attempted to get the hang of shorthand (which felt about as easy as learning Mandarin!). I scraped through my shorthand exam despite the fact I was in accident and emergency with my best friend until 3am the night before! We had been out celebrating her 21st birthday when she suddenly swelled up and had a violent peanut reaction! We’re still best friends today.
“All these years on I can honestly say barely a day goes by without me referring back to something I learned on the course. I still hear the wise words of Gerry Kreibich, my tutor, ringing in my ears when I write scripts; or repeat the advice of Martin, our law tutor, to younger members of my team when we’re dealing with court cases or sensitive stories with legal implications.
“Even my appalling shorthand gets an outing now and again when I’m on the road!
“It never ceases to amaze me how many basic errors are made in broadcasting on a daily basis and I often think how so many producers would have benefitted from my NCTJ course.
“A solid training in journalism is a fantastic grounding for all kinds of media jobs. I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to have a place on an NCTJ course and would highly recommend it to anyone wanting a career in journalism.”