This year I have learnt a lot; how to write news effectively, what a good cover letter looks like and (most importantly) if free food is offered at an interview day, take it- take it all and make sure you have enough for dinner.
I love my course, I would recommend it to anyone who wants to go into journalism. I have met the best people and had more opportunities than I could have ever imagined. You speak to cool, sometimes slightly wacky people who have a story to tell and you get to be the first to hear it which is such a privilege.
However, I have also learnt that 9 times out of 10 if you tell people you’re a journalist they will scoff and say something along the lines of “why the hell do you want to do that? I hope you’re one of the good ones.” Now the socially acceptable response to this is laughing and sipping whatever drink you have to hand until the tension has passed.
If you search ‘journalists are’ into Google the first two suggestions that come up are ‘journalists are liars’ and ‘journalists are scum’…
Don’t get me wrong I know some journalists are bad people. The profession has come under fire as being disingenuous and attractive to those who are morally corrupt. After Trump decided to coin anything he didn’t agree with as fake news, hostility towards journalists is at an all-time high.
People go into journalism for different reasons. Few do it for the money (because they’d be barking up the wrong tree) and some for fame. It attracts good people and bad people like any other profession does. But we all know a certain few journalists who use their platform to spread hateful views, tarnishing journalism as a whole.
I am not going to write out a list of why it is important but you only have to look at the work of the likes of Stacey Dooley, Nick Cohen, Laura Bates, Hadley Freeman, Giles Coren, Maureen Dowd and (my most beloved) Louis Theroux, to see that journalism, in all the forms that it takes, is so integral to giving a voice to those who might not have a platform and exposing issues across the globe.
After the events this week in London, I have had a few conversations with people about the standards of ethics demonstrated by journalists reporting on the attack. Innumerable articles have flashed up on my twitter feed, people retweeting racist, Islamophobic articles placing the blame on all Muslims as a way to show how the media warps an event into fake, twisted news.
But for every hateful, fake, racist article there was so many more that explained what actually happened without pushing an agenda. Just as in any profession, the behaviour of a few would not tarnish the majority, journalism should be treated the same way.
I can say that I am blessed to call a proportion of the next generation of journalists my friends and they’re not bad, morally redundant people. They’re passionate about good writing, imparting a story and spreading news, great style and good food and culture. There are good and bad people in all walks of life and wanting to be journalist isn’t synonymous with being sly or a liar.