Students across the Music, Media and Performance department have received their marks this week.
As tutors, it’s always a pleasure to see our students achieve (and post about their grades on social media).
Once the dust has settled, and our graduates-to-be have had time to take stock, they may find themselves wondering what to do next.
So we tracked down several of our graduates – mostly from journalism – who are forging their careers in a range of fields. They discuss how they got there and how they now use skills they first developed at the University of Chester.
Graduated with a Journalism BA in 2019
Now working as a Digital Content Manager for ice Norway
Oversees content management systems (CMS), SEO (search engine optimisation) and more
My journalism degree prepared me for a lot of things, and it’d be difficult to specify a particular subject. I’d say the most important tools I learnt were how to approach different types of people, how to take notice of the things that make an impact and adapt my writing to different forms of media. I’m grateful for how digital media was implemented into the course, as I’ve had to work with many Adobe programs in my career. I think it set the precedent for what I’m doing now, and what I’m going to do in the coming years.
I made the decision to look for a job I could establish myself in before finishing my degree. I started applying in January, and finally got my breakthrough in May. I had a part-time job at a company that focused on optimizing websites for different companies before I started at ice, where I now run the company’s website. In addition to working in a CMS system which is very similar to the WordPress we learnt at Uni, a lot of attention is focused on adapting text to different forms of media.
Graduated with a Journalism BA in 2018
Went on to undertake postgraduate course in law, with an emphasis on Advanced Criminal Litigation and Family Law
Now working toward becoming a Crown Prosecutor
I haven’t gone into journalism, but I think if I had studied anything else I may never have found the passion for what I’m doing now, which is actually quite a scary thought!
I think it was the (media law and ethics) regulation module that started it.
I’d never touched upon law as a subject and it hadn’t ever entered my mind as a possibility, but I enjoyed the copyright aspects and the bits and pieces we touched upon on the course and it started from there I guess! The court reporting was also fantastic. I ended up visiting court a lot more after that.
I think that pushed me into the direction of wanting to pursue criminal law specifically. I actually had a long chat with a tutor during first year and he was fantastic. If I remember correctly his partner had actually done the conversion course into law so he was able to tell me more about that, I didn’t know it was an option I just remember sitting in his office saying I should have done law! I’ve messed it all up!
I actually enrolled on to journalism as I was unsure about where I wanted to head and thought it would be a fantastic springboard into a range of directions once I’d figured out where to go, but I never thought it would be this direction.
Graduated with a Journalism BA in 2017
Secured a position on the Express and went on to become a science reporter for Newsweek
The most useful takeaway from my time studying journalism at Chester is that the best way to get ahead in journalism is to talk to people. This sounds so obvious, but it’s a skill that’s taken me ages to develop and there really are right and wrong ways to approach people if you’re trying to find a story lead or ask for an interview. In my opinion it’s the most useful skill a journalist should have. My tutors would always encourage me to interview people for a story, which helped, and I think my dissertation ended up featuring over a dozen interviews.
While studying, I undertook work experience at a regional news agency, which I would encourage students to do as it’s a real head-first experience into a fast-paced newsroom and looks good on any journalist’s CV.
After completing my degree I went on to work there for a while, before writing for a trade magazine. After gaining a year’s experience there I reached out to an editor at the Daily Express—the worst they can say is no—and ended up working there for another year or so. I soon found that I have a real passion for science reporting, and applied for a position as a science reporter for Newsweek, which is my current role.
Graduated with a Journalism BA in 2020
Now working with Cheshire Cat Marketing
The journalism degree was integral in helping me land my current job. Throughout the entire three years I went from having little knowledge of the subject to being fully informed. Not only that, but I was able to gain essential skills which I took with me into PR and marketing. During the lectures we were taught all the basics – the five Ws and one H, the upside down pyramid, the story’s angle. But also a whole host of techniques for content writing, ethics in the industry and digital skills. Everything was put into practice at the time too which gradually helped me build up to where I am now.
Before enrolling, I honestly didn’t have the confidence which was actually needed for a job in this industry! The fact that it allowed me to face my fears and push myself to overcome them is something that isn’t just helpful for my line of work, but helpful for life in general.
When I left Chester, I entered a job market rocked by the Covid-19 pandemic. I knew that it would be difficult finding a job straight away so I thought gaining experience in the ‘real world’ was the main priority. That’s when I reached out on Twitter to see if I could volunteer. Within no time I was contacted by Rob Davies of Wrexham.com to see if I could help them and their sister site, Deeside.com.
I gladly accepted and from there was able able gain the experience I was craving. Not only did I volunteer there, I also reached out to Chester.com to see if they needed help. Luckily they did, and I was able to simultaneously help them along with the other two sites. With both hard news and more creative content experience under my belt, I ended up applying for a few local and remote roles until I landed my job at Cheshire Cat Marketing. It took a few months, but the experience I was able to gather will help massively for future roles – whether it be journalism or marketing.