JMU Journalism led to my job in politics

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Helen Dodd © LJMU

When I was sitting in my Reporting UK Politics lesson in university just a couple of years ago I never thought that one day in the near future I would be working for an MP and getting into the thick of politics.

It is a job with the X Factor and landing it was up there with one of the happiest days of my life. I felt like I’d won the lottery and having recently been made a permanent member of staff I felt like I’d won it all over again.

After I graduated last July, I decided to keep on working and producing stories in my role on the JMU Journalism website team to gain more experience.

Fortunately enough, it was through seeking an exclusive interview with Wirral South MP, Alison McGovern, that I met my first boss in the world of work.

Completely unrelated and out of the blue, it turned out that Alison was interviewing for staff, and I applied for the job. I was so pleased to eventually get the interview with Alison, though even more thrilled after she asked me to come and work for her.

In my job a lot of the skills learned during my journalism degree come into play, but it is so varied you never stop learning. I help take care of Alison’s diary, assist her in her duties to solve her constituents’ problems, accompany her on a number of interesting visits and meetings, among other tasks.

I have learned many new skills since starting my job and have got to do and see so many fantastic things for a young girl.

MP Alison McGovern

When you start your first job you always think back to your university days and one of the fondest memories for me was working on the JMU Journalism team.

I turned into a professional from a student whilst I was still at university, and interviewing a political figure such as Tony Benn remains one of my most treasured memories.

It is almost fate that interviewing one of the Labour Party’s most respected figures for the Liverpool Life website would come just before working for a Labour Party politician who I have the greatest respect for, and who has taught me so much in such a short space of time.

JMU Journalism is a very special initiative and website and I don’t know if I would be where I am today without it. It gave me confidence in myself and the opportunity to show to people who I had interviewed.

With a portfolio including Caroline Wyatt from the BBC, Tony Benn and Kim Cattrall who isn’t going to take notice of you?

Working on this website was where it all started. I feel like I am on an amazing adventure and have been lucky enough to have the best first job I could ever have dreamed of, but I will never forget those special early days of my career with the JMU Journalism team.

Working for the website made me more enthusiastic about my studies and, as cheesy as it sounds, changed me as a person.

About Helen Dodd, Managing Editor