Lucy is news editor at www.cosmeticsbusiness.com. She studied her NCTJ qualification at News Associates in London in 2011. She has previously worked at the Oxford Guardian and Men’s Health UK.
"Charity chest waxes, dog whispering and hot cross bun hurling (for the record, all exactly what they sound like)... starting my journalism career as a reporter on a local newspaper in Oxford, I soon discovered I would never be short of a good anecdote again.
""Here's your hard hat and there's the crane." Not exactly what the NCTJ had prepared me for, I thought, as I stepped onto the 30ft moving platform, which I had been reassured was only going to be 'up there' for a few minutes, or so. I had been sent out on-patch to take an aerial photo of schoolchildren spelling out the number 100 as part of a centenary celebration. It just hadn't occurred to me what 'aerial' really meant until I got there. That was day two in the job!
"Over time, I went on to cover countless events and stories, and my NCTJ training quickly came into its own, proving critical each and every day. But they were not all as light-hearted as my first week. From reporting on a high-profile murder case in Oxford Crown Court with numerous legal restrictions, to attending weeks of harrowing repatriations at RAF Brize Norton, which required great levels of sensitivity in writing style and in-depth public affairs knowledge, my skills and judgement as a journalist were truly put through their paces and I know I couldn't have done it without my training.
"I studied for an NCTJ Diploma in Journalism at News Associates in London, with the help of a scholarship from the NUJ's George Viner Memorial Fund. My course required me to come into college four days a week and work one day a week as part of a placement to build up my portfolio. I can honestly say my time studying there was one of the best experiences of my life – not only did I get to grips with the skills I needed to pursue journalism, but it also gave me the leg up I needed to get into the workplace straight out of my course; I started working full time at the newspaper where I did my placement a matter of days after my last exam.
"These days, I've swapped my reporter's notebook for a career in beauty journalism. While it might sound a world away from being on-patch, in reality, there's huge overlap. On a day-to-day basis, I commission, edit and write news stories for a trade beauty website and weekly print title, Cosmetics Business. As news editor, the skills I used back then are just as relevant to what I do now, if not more so as I hold greater responsibility. From media law to sub-editing and, yes, even shorthand, I use them all day, every day. My hard hat, on the other hand, I've hung up for good!"