St Bride's: News

A Guild Bursary recipient says thank you and a new one says hello

A Guild Bursary recipient says thank you and a new one says hello

James Sutton reflects on his year before entering the world of workJames Sutton.jpg

I can hardly believe that a year has gone by since I first wrote here (http://www.stbrides.com/news/2016/07/guild-bursary-scholarship-recepient-2016.html). Back then, I was newly graduated and excited to be moving to London to start my MA course at City. Now, as I await confirmation of my overall grade, I have other reasons to be excited.

A year ago, I signed off with my hope of "stepping into the industry in the not too distant future." I am happy to report that in the last couple of weeks I have done just that, starting as a sub-editor on Citywire's stable of financial magazines. What's more, London is no longer a strange city to me; indeed, a full-time job here brings the realisation that it has become my home. It's incredible just how much my life has changed in such a short time.

The year I have spent at City - made possible by the generous support of the Guild of St Bride - has been a joy. Being taught by an incredibly talented group of journalists, and learning alongside another, is surely the best career preparation that anyone could ask for.

In many ways, it has been all too much at once. Exciting opportunities have come at me thick and fast, and I suddenly found myself meeting and even working with some of my journalistic heroes. So, for the benefit of my successor on the Guild bursary, here are some of the things I wish I had been told twelve months ago.

Perhaps the single most important thing to remember is to keep an open mind. The industry is so varied and is constantly changing: opportunities that you've never given a second's thought to will appear in front of you. Plenty of things simply won't be your cup of tea, and that's fine, but trying out different types of writing and different roles within the journalistic process will help you figure out what is. It certainly did for me.

Just as important as the decisions you make are the people you meet along the way. St Bride's is a wonderful community and everyone has been so very friendly and helpful. Contacts in the industry are also invaluable in getting your foot in the door; unfortunately, sometimes that means having to do some fairly unsubtle networking. And don't forget your course-mates - the chief reporters, columnists and editors of the future. 

The only other advice I can give is to enjoy it while it lasts. A year flies by, especially when you're busy, and as excited as I am to settle into my new job, I know that there's a lot about the past year that I'm going to miss.

Joseph Bray looks forward to exploring the world of Digital Media

Joe Bray resized.jpgI always knew City was where I wanted to study, but it was always going to be a stretch financially. Then, I was lucky enough to be awarded the Guild of St Bride's bursary, and I can't wait to start a Master's in Interactive Journalism from September.

I'm so grateful to St Bride's for the bursary. The money will go towards my course fees, but I feel the support offered by the Guild will be much more valuable.

To be honest, I very nearly turned down my offer from City - and therefore the chance to be involved with the beautiful St Bride's church. Apart from the cost of studying in London, every journalist I've spoken to has warned me of the well-documented challenges facing the profession.

So do I really want to be spending all my savings to enter a dying industry? Do I even need a Master's degree? Is being in London really THAT important?

In the end, it was an incredible job offer from a small local newspaper that made up my mind.

After just a week-long placement, I was offered the position of deputy editor at the paper as they looked to expand their business. Turning down that opportunity was one of the hardest decisions I've had to make, but in the end it focussed my thinking.

I've completed various placements in local newsrooms and I've loved seeing how a story develops from start to finish. I had something to show for every day's hard work. However, it is also clear to see the challenges facing local journalism as news continues to shift online.

I'm guilty of that shift myself as I mainly access news on my phone. On the other hand, I've seen first-hand how effectively social media can improve online traffic when promoting my blog. Social media is obviously so important for finding, accessing, and spreading news nowadays, so if journalism is changing, then I should change with it.

Taking everything into account, I knew Interactive Journalism was going to give me the best chance in the long term. And if I can get a job offer after a week of work experience, I'm excited to see what I could achieve after a year at City.

I've got no idea where I'll be this time next year, but that's one of the things that attracted me to journalism. I know the next twelve months will be a challenge - personally and academically - but I'm determined to enjoy myself and go into every day with an open mind to see where it takes me.

With this in mind, I'm itching to start my year at City and begin my career. The hard work starts now!

 

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