Bob studied for a degree in film and literature at university in the West Midlands.
It was not long before I realised I had a particular interest in the representation of journalists on screen, especially in films like All the President’s Men and The China Syndrome. What really appealed to me was the investigative role in journalism. I liked the idea of finding things out that others did not want you to know.
While at university I contributed to the student magazine. I was the film critic! I enjoyed it, but realised very quickly that I wanted to do reporting on a much wider range of issues and topics. I became quite serious about journalism as a profession. I think I wanted to change the world and write stories about how people were doing bad things.
After graduating I temped in a supermarket while getting relevant experience by working one day a week on the Big Issue. I applied to the fast track news NCTJ diploma at City College Brighton and Hove. There, I learnt very practical skills in story gathering and writing for publication as well as getting the stamp of approval from the NCTJ.
The main skills that I now possess are the ability to ask focused and relevant questions. I can listen to sources and others closely and take down their answers in a very precise and completely accurate way. Attention to detail, together with working quickly, is the key to this job. You also have to want to know what is going on. Being curious and perhaps a bit nosy is very important.
I now work for a regional newspaper in Kent. The pay is not that good and there are occasional long hours, but I would not be happy doing anything else. I come into contact with an immense range of people. One day I might be covering the local court proceedings while the next I am interviewing a campaign group leader who wants to ban the siting of a nightclub. Getting the work written to deadline is hard work, but very exciting. You really feel as if you are in the thick of what is going on.
My aim is to build my role here at the newspaper. I already contribute to our online and print media. Sub-editing is what most people anticipate that they will progress to. In the short time I have been in post, I have realised that my role is much more multi-facteted than I had anticipated. The stories I write might appear in the weekly newspaper, online or on our radio station news. Most likely my articles will be in all three.
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