One full year in journalism.

‘One full year’ is the title given to a chapter in As We Remember Her, by Carl Anthony. It’s one of the best biographies of Jacqueline Kennedy that I have read-and it’s where the title of this post is borrowed from. Aptly explaining the last year of Jackie’s life-were everything comes together, full circle-I thought it was a good title. A lot happens in a year, after all.
From work experience and reading particular blogs, I knew I wanted to study for an NCTJ qualification. Every editor, virtually, said they’d rather that then a degree-and this was a man on a national newspaper! With that, I went to an interview at Brighton Journalist Works; I saw this sign, and took this picture that day. I touch it for luck every time I see it now.
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After that I applied to the Journalism Diversity Fund.
I’ve written about this, but not fully. But this is where I was interviewed at the Financial Times, by a panel of four or five journalists.  And.. I was in! The phone call came during a Politics lesson. (Luckily the teacher, my favourite at that college, allowed me to answer.) And I was due to begin in September! It seems so long ago, now; in reality, it has been just over one year.
I remember being intimidated the first day; I remember thinking, what am I doing here? Everyone was older than me-with jobs, children, a house, maybe even a pension. (As it turns out, I am indeed the youngest. That was the cause of some hilarity in lessons; There’s more about this in this post, here.)
Then came the stories. The stories make journalism addictive-perhaps that’s the wrong word. But it’s why I have the motivation to write, the curiosity, the need to question, the need to tell it. That is why I get up every morning, that kind of adrenaline-reflex. As my classmate recently wrote, “To tell people’s stories is a privilege, and we are taught to never loose sight of that.” 
Last November I was lucky enough to meet Peter Jukes, the journalist who narrates the podcast; at that particular event, he introduced me by saying “This is Lydia, she’s a journalist..” That was the first time anyone had introduced me like that. It still makes me smile when I think back to that.
I met Alastair Morgan later on. I remember that day I was so excited, curious, despite ill health. I admire this man for his activist spirit, despite something happening so utterly horrific. I consider myself lucky to have met him on a number of occasions. (If you want to find out more, why not consider reading his book?) 
Later this year, I was lucky enough to go to a Hacked Off Event; I also joined their lobbying session in Parliament. This was one of the first times I had felt like an outsider-not quite a journalist, and kind of on the edge, looking in. I believe that to be a good thing, for a number of reasons, especially since a lot of learning from any classroom doesn’t always have people at its centre.
 One woman had described how she’s watched and surveilled from her front door. (Surely that’s intolerable? And how can anyone agree with that being permitted? Here’s why I do not agree at all.) Later that day I got to met Graham Johnson (recognised by his voice from Untold!), Brain Cathcart (one of my favourite Byline writers), and John Ford (whistleblower.)
One of my favourite stories so far has been when I went to interview Sir Harold Evans. As I’ve previously written, this man is my ‘journalism hero’-and I was introduced to his work via a comical misunderstanding. But I was hooked from watching Attacking The Devil: Harold Evans and the last Nazi War Crime.

I consider myself lucky beyond belief; to have the Journalism Diversity Fund support me, and to have met my classmates, the people that I can call my friends. I am lucky to have a training centre that never said “no” to a story I wished to pursue-instead, they were the ones to ask “how can we help?” I even nominated one of the lecturers for an award because of this.
As my classmate Lyndsey wrote, to tell the stories of other people is my privilege. And I remain grateful that, due to the JDF, and my training centre, I have been allowed to do exactly that.

2 Comments

  1. Lisa's Notebook
    June 24, 2018 / 5:26 pm

    I’m so proud of you, Lydia. This is what you’ve always wanted (as long as I’ve known you anyway) and you never lost sight of it for a moment. I hope you’re proud of yourself and what you’ve achieved and I can’t wait to see more of your stories in print as you carve out your niche and name as a fully fledged journalist! x

    Lisa | http://www.lisasnotebook.com

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