A Manchester student, who completed his NCTJ-accredited course at the University of Salford, faced a tricky decision recently when he had to choose between his dream career and the love of his life.
Shortly after finishing his course, Chris Slater, 22, secured interviews with a few regional dailies. One was on the doorstep of his girlfriend of four years, 60 miles from his home, and another was with the Manchester Evening News – his local newspaper and dream job.
Chris applied for the trainee posts after reaching the gold standard shorthand speed of 100 wpm. He also achieved four A’s in his NCTJ preliminary exams.
He had agreed to move in with his girlfriend, Lucy, if he was offered the job near her, but the chance to work with the MEN was one he’d set his heart on. After agonising over the decision, Chris finally chose to take the job he’d craved more than any other – at the MEN.
Then he had to tell his girlfriend.
“I was a bit anxious about telling her at first because I had told her we’d be living together,” Chris said, “but she really understood in the end. She’s not a journalist herself, but knows what it means to me, and that the MEN is my dream job. We’re just going to maintain our long-distance relationship for now.”
Chris, who is an avid Manchester City fan, said that ultimately the MEN was his number one choice. “As a proud Mancunian, it was the paper I wanted to work for, but I would also have been proud to work for either of the other two papers if it hadn’t worked out at the MEN. When I got the offer I was buzzing.”
There were 190 candidates, including Chris, who applied for eight trainee posts at the MEN and its weeklies, which are now owned by Trinity Mirror. Sarah Lester, news editor at the MEN, said: “It was a strong field and Chris was an outstanding candidate. Now he has to prove his potential in the newsroom.”