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Meet the College graduates working as Liverpool Echo Community Reporters

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30th June 2020

We are incredibly proud to hear that two of the College’s journalism graduates, Jess Molyneux and Lisa Rand, have recently been nominated for the Society of Editors’ ‘Reporting Communities Award’ for their roles as Community Reporters at the Liverpool Echo.

Jess and Lisa both studied on our fast-track NCTJ Level 3 Diploma course, which is designed to lead directly into a role as a multimedia journalist. This course is officially accredited by The National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and is the only course of its kind to be offered in the Merseyside area. It is the only qualification you need if you’re looking to pursue a career in journalism.

As part of the course, students are guaranteed work experience, undertaking a placement at the Liverpool Echo and are given the opportunity to cover real events across the city for a variety of other media outlets. In Jessica and Lisa’s cases this led to them being offered a permanent role at the Liverpool Echo straight after college. We caught up with Jess and Lisa to find out what they’ve been up to since graduation, and to hear what their experience of College was like:

Jess Molyneux, Knowsley Community Reporter for the Liverpool Echo, in partnership with Facebook and NCTJ.

“I studied the NCTJ Level 3 Diploma fast track course, from September 2018 to January 2019. I did an English with Philosophy degree at the University of Liverpool and whilst there I wrote for the student newspaper the Sphinx, but prior to that I had never studied or had much work experience in a real newsroom.

“The course and the tutors really prepared me for a career in journalism. Not only did it give me opportunities to build contacts and have regular work experience, but it also taught me skills such as media law and ethics that I didn’t previously know anything about. It also allowed me to be creative, source my own stories and meet deadlines, which is something I do day-to-day in my current job.

 

 

“With the support and experiences the college provided, I was able to start a job in journalism as my course was coming to an end. At the beginning, I was worried that despite all of the work I had done, it would be too competitive for me to get a role in a newsroom. The tutors encouraged me to go for roles coming up and without Alice’s support, I don’t think I would have had half the chance I did.

“What I enjoyed most about the college was getting to know the people on my course, meeting local media contacts, using top filming equipment and software that I still use in the newsroom today and getting the support from the tutors.

“The advice I would give to people aspiring to start a career in journalism is to work hard, take the course seriously but also have fun and enjoy it. If you show you’re invested and aren’t afraid to put yourself out there and be creative, it will go a long way.”

Lisa Rand, L8 Community Reporter for the Liverpool Echo, in partnership with Facebook and NCTJ:

“I studied the fast track NCTJ Diploma at the Arts Centre in City of Liverpool College and completed the diploma in June 2019. I started work as a community reporter for L8 for the Liverpool ECHO upon completion of the course. The Community News Project is part of a scheme with the National Council of Training Journalists (NCTJ) and Facebook and is a two-year project to reinvigorate local newsrooms. It’s a really exciting scheme to be part of and my training at the City of Liverpool College prepared me perfectly for the role.

“The course was invaluable – Alice and the team brought all of their industry skills, experience and know-how into the classroom environment, giving us plenty of insight into how to succeed within regional news, how to research, prepare and put together articles with a strong community focus, and we had lots of opportunities to gain work experience along the way.

“Alice was very supportive and kept us all motivated, focused and developed our confidence to pursue our dreams. Our tutors were always keeping us up-to-date with the latest opportunities for roles and traineeships that would be relevant to our areas of interest and encouraged us to apply, and I was lucky to be offered the community reporter role while still on the course.

 

 

“The fast-track course is very intensive, but our tutors helped make it an enjoyable experience along the way. I really enjoyed working alongside my fellow students as we got to grips with the fundamentals of media law, shorthand, essential journalism techniques, video journalism and public affairs and I enjoyed every minute of my time at the college.

“Although shorthand is a tough skill to learn, with Alice’s expertise and encouragement I actually came to enjoy our daily shorthand lessons, which I never thought I’d say, and feel that the course as a whole really equipped me with the practical skills and knowledge required to make the move into the newsroom – I’d highly recommend the course to any budding journalists.

“I love the role that I’m in currently – it really is my dream job, being a community reporter for an area that I have lived in much of my adult life and that I am very fond of – it’s great to be able to tell the stories of the amazing things going on in L8 and also to delve into the issues that matter to the local community.

“My advice for those considering journalism as a career would be to go for it – I spent years dithering, not quite believing it was possible for me to actually become a journalist. Once I’d taken the leap of faith, I wondered why I hadn’t done it years ago.  I’d say be nosy and curious, keep writing and get as much published as you can, whether that’s self-publishing or taking the opportunity to write for local magazines and websites – build up your portfolio and enjoy!”

We’d like to thank Jess and Lisa for taking the time to speak to us about their experiences and wish them all the best with their future careers in journalism.

If you’d like to find out more about our NCTJ Level 3 Diploma courses, click here.

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