From Eurovision to JMU Journalism

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Gemma Abbey was in Jemini with fellow Scouser Chris Cromby, representing the UK at the 2003 Eurovision song contest © BBC/Eurovision

Gemma Abbey was in Jemini with fellow Scouser Chris Cromby, representing the UK at the 2003 Eurovision song contest © BBC/Eurovision

After a long career as a professional singer and being chosen to represent my country in the 2003 Eurovision Song Contest, moving into journalism was obviously not on the cards back then.

It is quite ironic now that I find myself at the start of my journey into the media world and writing my first blog for JMU Journalism as an undergraduate, here in my home city.

As one half of pop duo ‘Jemini’, we infamously received the dreaded “nul points” out in Latvia (the first time a UK entry had failed to register a single vote) and I found myself at the centre of a media frenzy.

With the international press sharing their opinions on Jemini across both news networks and national newspapers – despite a top 20 hit under our belts – we still received profoundly negative articles, and eye-catching front page news headlines written about us.

Some may question my reasoning behind seeking a career in journalism, especially having suffered at the hands of journalists.

However, as I have matured and years have passed in between, I have become more interested and aware of the power of the media. What makes a good headline? What makes a good news story? Also, there is the influence in which the media can turn positive news stories into negative and vice versa. Is there really any bad publicity? These are some of the questions I began to ask myself.

Gemma Abbey has enrolled on our International Journalism course. Pic © JMU Journalism

Gemma Abbey has enrolled on our International Journalism course. Pic © JMU Journalism

Following the ego battering of 2003, I have since taken a greater interest in the way in which the press works and the tools and methods in which the media use in getting news stories across.

Since my school days I have always been a keen writer and enjoy the presentation side of telling a story or getting my opinion out there. Even in the world of singing and stage, I believe it to be similar to journalism as you are simply engaging with your audience to get a story heard.

After 10 years of dipping in and out of different careers and ‘umming and ahhing’ about what to do with my life after Jemini, it was time to take my curiosity about journalism more seriously

As of last year I decided to study on an access course as a mature student at Liverpool University. After completing that I decided to look for a course that was more vocational (less essays!) and found International Journalism at Liverpool John Moores University.

Even though it is still early days, I am excited to be part of what I believe is going to be an interesting career path.

I hope I learn to become a ‘nice’ journalist and hopefully be given the opportunity to write about the interesting lives of people and events of the future.

I believe that my experience of the media gives me a greater understanding and empathy towards the people and stories I will be writing. I also want to use my experience with the press to my advantage.

I doubt that tabloid reporting will be my chosen career path when I leave university, but I look forward to seeing where this journey will take me.