I actually visited quite a few universities in the UK and out of all the ones that I visited, Kent was the most professional one, the most dedicated to journalism by far. The programme is accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and you study for their Diploma in Journalism alongside your degree so once you graduate, you don’t have to spend another year taking that qualification.
But what really drew me to the course is just how practical it is. You’re not just sitting in a lecture hall listening to someone speak for two hours about how to produce journalism. You’re given a camera and a few questions to go ask people. So you go out there and you learn by making journalism.
We have two state-of-the-art newsrooms and each day starts with a news conference where we talk about what’s in the news that day and how you would cover it on TV etc. There are enough iMacs for everyone to use and they are fully equipped with all the editing software you need or could want.
We also have two radio studios and a TV studio at the Centre plus access to the TV studios at KMTV. The facilities are honestly incredible.
One of my favourite moments was the first time that I filmed a TV package. We hadn’t studied TV journalism yet, we were in our first year. A friend and I found out that there was a small Comic-Con in Maidstone so we checked out a camera and learned how to use it on the go. We interviewed the organiser of the Comic-Con, we spent all day there just having a good time. We gave the package to KMTV, the news station on campus, and they aired it, which was great.
They have an open-door policy at the Centre for Journalism, so you can always approach any of the staff. They are all so supportive, if you have any personal issues, or if you’re struggling. If you’ve got a project and it’s due in a week, and you don’t have an idea, you can just sit down and have a chat with them. The Centre really is like a family.
Even though there’s only about 30 of us, we are from across the globe: UK, Europe, Asia, USA, South Africa. It makes things interesting, because people from other countries, might bring up news stories that you would never have thought of. Also, you find different perspectives on complex issues, such as politics, things like that which is really great because you can bounce ideas off of each other, and just have a chat about anything.
Most of the lecturers working at the Centre are professional journalists, who also do research in their field, so they all have ties to the industry. They all really know what it’s like to be a journalist.
I definitely want to go into broadcast journalism. When I first started, I wanted to write for newspapers, to be a print journalist but as I moved on with the course, I knew that I wanted to work in TV or radio. I would like to be a producer at a national TV station, like the BBC, Channel 2 or ITV. I’d like to work at a political show like John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight or Peston on Sunday, or a morning news show like Good Morning Britain.
As I am really interested in TV journalism, I applied for the Bob Friend Scholarship which is exclusively for Journalism students. It is sponsored by Sky News and includes a month’s work experience there. I was one of four finalists in my second year and although I didn’t win, it was an incredible experience to put together a pitch and go to the Sky offices in Westminster for the final interview.
I would say, don’t be scared. Go out of your way to talk to people and go for any opportunity that comes along. At the end of the day, that’s another huge part of going to university; the friends and connections you make.