By Becky Parker, JDF bursary recipient 2012/13
Despite always knowing I wanted to write for a living, I was unsure how to go about it. It always seemed like a huge leap to go from student to journalist, and most of my friends and family thought I was mad for wanting to make the jump.
I read English Literature at undergraduate level and knew I wanted a job in the papers, but the journey seemed completely unachievable, as if there was a really exclusive club I couldn’t find an invite to.
I started off writing to every newspaper and magazine I could think of, asking them if they’d take me on for some work experience. I ended up going to three or four different publications, working the odd week here and there.
Everybody I spoke to on the papers gave me invaluable advice and each one told me the same thing: get your NCTJ accreditation.
So I hit the web trying to find out which universities ran the course and sent off my applications, just hoping someone would offer me an interview.
After the most nerve-wracking wait and the scariest interview of my life (genuinely nearly threw-up on my shoes) I eventually got into the programme at Cardiff University.
The joy of being accepted onto the course was quickly replaced with the sheer dread at knowing I had to find £7000 from somewhere. I had already done my research and knew there were some options, so I started to apply for any loan, grant or bursary I could find.
I applied to the Journalism Diversity Fund and was called to London to have an interview at the Financial Times. Despite feeling intimidated and overwhelmed, I gave it my best shot. I thought I had completely messed up, so was dreading getting the letter in the post.
A few weeks later, I got the letter. Somehow something I said impressed someone, and I got the bursary award. I can’t say exactly what I said, but I know for sure there was some dancing involved.
And so here I am, with social life in tatters, sleeping patterns in utter disarray but loving every minute. There’s no other place I’d rather be.
I was so grateful to the Journalism Diversity Fund, which helped me to reach my goals of representing the working class in the newsroom. It’s safe to say I probably wouldn’t have made it without them.