DSU role for NCTJ qualified journalist

By Natalie Whitehouse

Journalism graduate Jonathan Whitney has found himself back on the De Montfort campus, returning to the university in a role at De Montfort Students’ Union as Media and Communications Coordinator.

The NCTJ-accredited journalist stumbled across the vacancy by chance, and knew instantly that it was a job he could see himself succeed in:

“I knew it was exactly what I was looking for so I applied straight away. I got an interview and heard back the next day that I’d been successful! My first day was during Freshers – the busiest time of the year for us – so that was a bit of a baptism of fire, but I haven’t looked back since.”

Being thrown in at the deep end, Jonny began his role four months ago at the beginning of the academic year, and pays testament to his course and experience gained at De Montfort for assisting him in successfully securing the role at DSU:

“All of the skills I’d learnt on my course were big factors in me landing the job, but my previous experience was crucial. In my final year of study I was a Frontrunner in the press office at DMU, and the skills I learnt there in sourcing and writing news stories more tailored to a commercial setting was really important, and it was most helpful to me in learning how to write for different audiences.

“I was also a Media Intern at Leicester Tigers during that time, and spent the season honing my skills across a wide range of areas including press releases, social media and a little bit of video content.”

This vast amount of experience put the journalism graduate in extremely good stead for the position at DSU, which have allowed him to flourish in his role, as well as learn new skills on the job:

“I work in a small team, so I can find myself turning my hand to anything during a normal working week. I coordinate all of the news content that goes up on the DSU website, most of which I write myself. I’m also in charge of all of the main social media channels we have, so scheduling messages for, and monitoring, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others can take up a large part of my day.

“I’m also getting more and more into video content, which is one area that I didn’t cover so much on my course, but it still uses all of the traditional story telling techniques I learnt during my time studying at DMU.”

Jonny Whitney

Having previously wanted to get into sports journalism, the 21-year-old realised early in his time at university that his career path may change, as he began to lean more towards a career in communications:

“I wanted to be a sports journalist for a long time, but quite early on during my course my eyes were opened to the opportunities in PR and Communications and my goals have changed to suit. At some point in my career I’d love to work for a communications team in a sporting environment, but right now I’m really happy at DSU!”

Jonny seems to have found his ideal career – or along the lines of it. He fully enjoys his role, the projects he has been involved in thus far, and also the interesting people he gets to meet along the way:

“The most interesting bit I find is when you get some weird and slightly quirky stories coming out of the woodwork. I was writing one about a student, Maddison, who is BUCS champion in her category of Karate as our sports department gives her funding towards her training. Only as I was interviewing her did it come out that she was not only BUCS champion, but a double European and triple world champion! That was fascinating and made for a brilliant story.”

And as is the consistently fast-paced nature of the communications world, there’s always something to keep him busy, and most importantly happy:

“Right now is a really busy time because we’re in the middle of planning comms. around elections, Varsity, RAG week and a whole lot more. But I’m really enjoying it!

“I get a real buzz out of actually seeing the effect my work has – whether that be more engagement with a certain campaign, or more student sign-ups to one of our services.”

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