St Bride's: News

Tom Knowles awarded Guild journalism bursary

tom_knowles.jpgI am always slightly taken aback when I step inside St Bride's Church. The noises of Fleet Street are suddenly replaced with a serene calm, the plaques that line the walls are almost all dedicated to past heroes of journalism and the pews have signs for newspapers ranging from The Daily Express to The Times. St Bride's, it's clear, is not like many other churches.

It is instead the spiritual home of the media and I feel incredibly honoured to now be a part of it. The Guild of St Bride has generously awarded me a bursary which will help pay the fees for a Masters in Newspaper Journalism at City starting in September. This, in turn, will hopefully set me on course for a career in journalism. That's the plan anyway.

The number of concerned faces I'm greeted with when I say I want to go into newspaper journalism means I should probably give up now.

But, despite hearing from many that I'm apparently stepping into a dying trade, I'm determined to make this work.

I think it was the moment I heard the words: "If you print that story I'll make sure I find you and smash your face in" that I first became convinced journalism was for me. I was trying to report on a story for Leeds Student, the award-winning student paper, about a corrupt landlord. It wasn't the threat that incited me but the challenge: once I knew people were willing to use threats, physical or otherwise to keep the whole affair under wraps, I had to get the story out there.

Journalism for me is a determination to find out, to reach beyond the surface level of a story. My career dream is to be part of an investigative news team, to follow in the footsteps of journalists such as Nick Fielding or Ian Cobain.

Through employment and work experience I have been lucky enough to start doing this, although of course in a very small way. For CNN, where I have been freelancing for the past year, I researched the potential rise in sex trafficking during the Olympics, interviewing police, doctors working with sex workers, and the prostitutes themselves. At Cambridge News, I wrote an exclusive piece on the overcrowding of King's College Chapel which made the front page. As Associate and News Editor of my student paper, Leeds Student, I helped reveal the expenses of the Vice-Chancellor at the University of Leeds and went undercover as an environmentalist in Copenhagen during the climate talks in 2009.

Now as I start at City and try to turn this into a career, it's great to know I have the support of the St Guild of St Bride behind me; because whether it's the exciting or the mundane, from being threatened by a landlord to checking and re-checking over a piece of work, I just can't get enough of it.

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