His way to the top followed a somehow traditional path: after graduating in 2012, he freelanced for a number of different publications until the opportunity to join the weekly paper as an Education reporter presented itself. Despite the demands of the role, which saw Tom covering news from the Lake District area, his set of skills acquired over 3 years of studying proved him well equipped: Tom specialised in Print Journalism in Year 2 and Newspaper Journalism in his final year.
“The facilities at UCLan are fantastic and the support you receive is second to none. Every day I use interview techniques, writing styles and shorthand all learnt at UCLan - without which I would never have been able to secure the job I am in and loving now.”
Being plunged into a journalism career straight out of university didn’t pose much of a challenge: “In the final year you are very much thrust into the role of the modern journalist which gives important experience. During the course I also completed the NCTJs and lecturers were very supportive in offering exam advice,” says Tom.
Although he stresses the importance of being tech-savvy and determined, Tom advises not to forget basic core skills, such as shorthand, which he describes as “crucial” to the job: “If you truly want to become a journalist get as much experience as you can whether that's blogging online, freelancing or at media outlets.”
“Show you are determined and get your name into as many places as possible because you never know who could end up reading your articles. Also in a world of technology do not underestimate the importance of shorthand. Yes it can be a lot of hard work initially but it is worth it and crucial to the job."
For Tom, the hard work definitely paid off, as the satisfaction he takes from his job is obvious: “Often journalists are criticised but there are, in my opinion, few jobs that offer such satisfaction. The reward of securing an exclusive, holding people to account and launching campaigns never wears off. It's no secret that jobs are sometimes hard to come by but it's the same in any profession.”