At LJMU, studying journalism means a lot more than access to the latest academic books, journals or even the end result – a degree.
My passion for breaking news secured me the roles of Chief Reporter and Website Editor, before being given the inaugural JMU Journalism Reporter of the Year award on my graduation day last year.
The World of Work (WoW) process also helped to open a door I walked through to enable me to be where I am today.
As part of the WoW Gold award, I was offered a mock interview with Andy Johnson of Mercury Press and Media Ltd, which is based in Liverpool.
Mr Johnson, the son of editor Chris, was impressed by my tenacity and ambition and offered me a job as the ‘pretend’ interview turned into the real thing.
So I began at Mercury working on the national news desk, which means sourcing my own news and working on order, producing stories for the national newspapers.
Being a reporter means excitement, drama and, of course, the occasional criticism, along with a few hard knocks from people reluctant to allow you to tell their story.
I have come to recognise from many veterans, notably my boss Chris Johnson, and by studying the dailies what makes a news story worth printing. It’s finding the news angle that nobody else has discovered and going for the jugular in every line of copy to make an impact and an impression on the reader.
And it’s about the multiple emails you send to get a reputable company to finally admit what you know to be true (perseverance).
That is a reference to a story I wrote about cinema goers at the Liverpool Odeon demanding refunds because The Artist was a silent film (originality).
Yes, it’s true.
I now proudly have the clipping stuck to the wall by my desk at Mercury HQ as a proud reminder of how perseverance leads to doing the job well.
But that’s just one story: every day I cut out or print off articles that have been published in the national press.
It isn’t a bad attempt at becoming a player in the cut-throat world of journalism, where it really is dog eat dog at times.
So, my advice is to listen hard, read a lot, write a lot, follow the news and always think about looking elsewhere to tell a story in a different and better way.
Any journalist is disadvantaged by not having 100wpm shorthand; take it from me it is essential… listen to Shorthand Sue.
Having my name on an exclusive on the JMU Journalism website was a thrill, so make the most of that while you study here – you don’t always get a by-line in the real world of work.
I have to thank the excellent journalism team, both lecturers and fellow students, at LJMU who helped me succeed.
Maybe in three years’ time you will be named JMU Journalism Reporter of the Year.