Choosing to pursue a career in journalism at a time when the job market is bleak could seem like an unwelcoming challenge. For me, it was a challenge I was ready to take on. After three years studying a BA in Journalism at Kingston University, I wanted to go on and study magazine journalism.
A few weeks ago I gave a talk about the work I do as editor of BBC Scotland current affairs to a lecture theatre full of aspiring journalists. I give these types of talks quite regularly but it was at the end of this particular one that I was asked two questions that left me incredibly depressed.
To describe my life now – two months into the MA Newspaper Journalism course at Nottingham Trent University – I am going to borrow a quote from my recent interview with comedy ninja Gina Yashere: “I’m hustling. I’m doing alright. I’m hustling”.
On Friday, 17 June I received the news that kept my dream of pursuing a career in journalism alive.
After a month of juggling work and study as a part-time NCTJ Multimedia student at News Associates, Manchester, I’m still on a high. Deadlines, networking and Saturday morning rush hours are just some of the things I’ve had to contend with, yet thanks to the Journalism Diversity Fund I’m learning priceless skills and making incredible contacts.
When you grow up in Northern Ireland you are surrounded by news. Sometimes the stories will be light and forward looking. Often, they are sorrowful and serious, recalling the difficulties of the past.
The Journalism Diversity Fund was a beacon of hope for me at a time when I felt I could never afford journalism training. I didn't have thousands of pounds to pay for a course and my future prospects did not look promising.
Extremists, murderers and a few outright nutters are just some of the less desirable subjects I’ve had to deal with through my work. The one thing you can say about journalism is that it’s not boring.
Two weeks from now I will have completed the fast-track Newspaper Journalism course at News Associates in London. The past five months have been nothing short of an insane rollercoaster ride, and I have felt every emotion under the sun since the course began.