Success for JMU Journalism graduates

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Stephen Kelly with Lily Allen © Tim Cochrane

The economic climate might be tough, but JMU Journalism graduates are managing to make their mark with a string of success stories in the world of work.

Stephen Kelly forged a name for himself as a freelance music journalist with the Guardian and NME, among other publications, while he was studying at John Moores University. Since graduating this year, Stephen has continued to receive commissions, including a feature for the NME about life on the road with chart-topper Lily Allen, and Mercury Music Prize winner Speech Debelle.

“Interviewing Lily Allen was by far the highlight of my career so far,” Stephen said. “I have always been a massive fan so I was dubious about whether she’d be a diva, just gawping at my questions with an air of ‘who the hell are you?’ arrogance. To my delight, she was lovely, very bubbly, very friendly and very funny. I could say I’m in love but that would be unprofessional!”

Luke McGovern, another graduate from the Class of 2009, has earned himself shifts on a national newspaper, working for Trinity Mirror as a freelance. He said: “At the moment I am on the sports desk of the Sunday People and reporting for them on a regular basis. There is no doubt that the skills I learnt at JMU have got me here. It’s surreal that I sit here gazing out of the window over Canary Wharf in London when only a few months ago I was doing the same thing with a less inspiring vista of Edge Lane. I had some great times at JMU.”

John Hynes also found work with Trinity Mirror after graduating in 2006, and he has just published a book about Liverpool FC’s connection with Ireland, called The Irish Kop (Trinity Mirror Sport Media). John said: “Studying journalism at JMU was the ideal way to prepare to move into the industry. The final year work placement is an excellent learning initiative. It places you right in the heart of a newsroom where you gain valuable experience and on the job training.

John Hynes’ book, ‘The Irish Kop’

“The placement also enables you to establish contacts, which can lead to employment opportunities in the future and that is exactly what happened for me. After completing two weeks with Sport Media I then returned there for another fortnight later in the year before eventually gaining a full-time job.”

Katie Heaton, who was JMU Journalism’s Deputy Website Editor last semester, has managed to gain a PR Account Executive position with Freshfield Marketing and Communications in Preston. Katie said: “I feel really lucky to have landed my ideal job, but I haven’t got here by doing nothing. In my opinion work experience is everything, employees really appreciate that you are prepared to use your spare time to get the necessary experience. Working on the JMU Journalism website was also a great way for me to get some real life experience of what it would be like when I left uni and went out into the real world.

“I learnt some key skills, such as team work and time-management, that will be with me for life, and at the same time I made some real friends with my colleagues on the website team,” she added. “My advice to students would be really put yourself out there, be prepared to make tea for a week if it means you might get one article printed in your local paper and don’t shy away from hard work because it will really pay off for you in the future. I love what I am doing now and I wouldn’t be here if I had spent my holidays staying in bed until 12 and lazing around the house.”

Oliver Pfeiffer has also gone down the public relations route with his Journalism degrees upon graduating this summer. Oliver has taken up a job offer at Paver Smith in Liverpool.

Helen Mayo saw her work experience with the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service during JMU’s coverage of the World Firefighters Games pay dividends after gaining a full-time position in their press office. James McSweeney, who left JMU in 2008, is now working for an online science publisher in Liverpool, BioMed Central.

Adrian Hearn, who graduated from JMU in July 2006, started work with motoring publication Auto Trader the same month. He said: “It’s amazing that it was three years ago that I left Liverpool – it only seems like yesterday that I was sweating over my dissertation and getting everything finished. The job has been great – I’ve been privileged to drive £100,000 cars and stay in five star hotels eating the finest food on the free.”

If you have graduated from JMU Journalism and would like to let us know how you are getting on since leaving university, please email us.