BA (Hons) Journalism (2009-2012)
First job: Production Journalist (News), ITN
I chose the BA at Winchester because they had a great mixture of practical and theory across a wide range covering broadcast, print as well as online news. This gave me the chance to explore all my different options at the same time as gaining valuable hands on experience.
The facilities at Winchester – especially the TV studio and gallery – are fantastic and are basically what you see when you work in a real newsroom or television station. It’s all pretty much the same. There’s a VT machine, green screen and all the cameras. On top of this there are technicians there to help who have worked in the industry for years.
When I finished my course I was in the fortunate position of having two job offers; one as a floor manager for ITV News and one as a broadcast journalist for BBC Wiltshire.
At the ITV interview they literally threw me into a studio and asked me to be a floor manager. This was great as it was exactly what I had been doing for the last year on my course. I had frequently acted as a producer at Winchester News Online (WINOL) so I knew all about working in a gallery and studio and how to run a news bulletin so they were really impressed with my skills.
It also helped that the University had arranged for me to do three weeks work experience at ITN as well as a week at BBC Wiltshire.
The course really prepares you for a career in news. The module in Live News Editing, Reporting and Presentation is the closest you can get to real, live journalism. You go out, interview people, present, go back to the editing suite and use real BBC computer systems to produce a programme. The intensive shorthand course in the first year comes in very useful, especially for court reporting.
My group was shortlisted for a BBC Student Innovation Award for WINOL’s live coverage of the national strikes. I was director of Strike Day 30 November 2011 which went out from Unison’s offices in Southampton with outside broadcasts from reporters in Winchester, Eastleigh and Basingstoke. We interviewed councillors as well as protestors and covered demonstrations all over the region. It was just like something you would see on Sky News!
I can completely recommend Journalism at Winchester. If I went back in time and had to make the same choice again I would definitely choose the same university. The level of support that you get from lecturers is amazing. They have so many contacts in the media and will do anything they can to help you to succeed.
MA Journalism (2010-2011)
First job: Presenter, Producer and Reporter for ITN
After completing my MA at Winchester I began working for ITN Productions, starting out as a producer and presenter for an online gaming show. I was then moved to the entertainment department, where I still work.
My first roles included producing and presenting a music news show and subsequently presenting the television show 5* Access.
Now I produce and present Heat’s Huge News, an hourly two minute entertainment news bulletin which airs on the Heat music channel on Sky and Virgin for two weeks out of four. During the weeks that I’m not reading the news for Heat I report for ITN from entertainment events and contribute to the ITN website.
I really enjoy the pressure and required focus that comes with producing a television show. The most interesting part of the job is going on shoots and interviewing people, sometimes from showbiz events and red carpets. The most challenging part of my job is to ensure complacency never occurs.
I started at ITN doing work experience which was organised for me by my lecturer and then I was able to stay on in a paid role. That’s the great thing about Winchester. The lecturers don’t just teach; they guide and mentor each individual so everyone has a chance to improve their skills.
My current job requires demanding production skills as well as clever scriptwriting. I developed both these areas on my Journalism course and was very grateful for the real newsroom atmosphere that was provided by my lecturers. I also really benefited from the availability of high quality equipment at Winchester which meant I could always work on my own project, be it making a show or producing a documentary.
Finally, the best job seeking advice that I can offer other Journalism students at Winchester is don’t accept anything but your best and don’t be afraid to follow your instincts, even when they are not the safe option.
BA (Hons) Journalism (2009-2012)
First job: Content Editor at the Watford Observer & St Albans Review
From Claire's blog: I have grown up with an abnormal obsession with womens magazines. I am very driven and ambitious with an unfortunate penchant for expensive things.
Since the age of 11 I have wanted to be the Editor of a leading womens magazine and am enjoying working hard to get to where I want to be.
I thrilled when I got in to Winchester and I loved every minute of it. I was very proud of the roles I had as managing editor of Winchester News Online and on the features and fashion side.
While I was there the course
the offiical Number 1 course in England for student satisfaction with teaching and resources in the National Student Survey.
So we not only named BJTC Course of the Year for Innovation and Excellence two years in a row (2010/2011), it seemed us students actually on the course are very happy too, not just the people looking in on us.
We have fabulous lecturers that sometimes you'll love, sometimes be scared of, sometimes feel stupid in front of, sometimes want to cry or scream in front of, but most importantly whilst going through these motions, you will learn so much from them, realise how lucky we are to be taught, mentored and guided by them, and actually look up to them.
We have fabulous equipment - we are privileged enough to have our own TV studio and gallery as well as our own newsroom - for journalism students only (much to the media students dismay!), and all the cameras, tripods, lighting and sound equipment you'll need.
Something I noticed today during my work experience at ITN is the sheer shock and slight horror on the faces and in the voices of a couple of producers when they were talking about journalists today, how we are expected to be able to do everything. Whether it's research, script writing, story writing, filming, editing, presenting - the list goes on.
Because times are changing, we have been taught that if you want to get a job when you get out of university, you have to have the skills. You have to be able to work a camera, you have to know how to white balance and focus, you have to know how to check sound levels, you have to know how to vision mix and be confident in Final Cut Pro.
These 'old school' journalists as it were, weren't lucky enough (or didn't need) to be trained on all of these things. If they're filming a package they'll have a team of people to go with you - your camera man, your sound man etc. Then when you're back in the office, you'll have someone to edit it for you.
My point is, after yet again all this rambling, as stressful and tiring as it can feel at times, the Journalism course at the University of Winchester is well deserving of every award achieved, and we should all look at how far we have come since starting, I know I personally have grown in so many ways, purely because of this course and how I have been guided and taught by my lecturers, and I still am growing as I work harder and harder.