Journalism student lands job before graduating

A journalism student from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has started a full-time job at a local newspaper even before graduating.



Katrina Chilver, 21, started this week as a trainee reporter at the Berkshire Media Group, which produces the Slough & South Bucks Observer, The Royal Borough Observer that covers Windsor and The Villager, all from their offices in Slough.

For Katrina, from Maldon in Essex, securing her ideal job came after only recently completing her final year studying DMU’s NCTJ-accredited Journalism course.

She said: “This was the second interview I went to and I got a really good feeling from the workplace and the people there – and then I found out I had got it!

“I have known since I started the course that this is what I want to do and to get the opportunity to work for a well-established newspaper that is at the heart of the community is exactly what I want to be doing.

“This is the perfect place to start for the career I see myself having.”

DMU’s Journalism courses have been accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) for almost 20 years and the undergraduate degree teaches students about reporting, subbing and design plus law and public affairs as well as shorthand.

Katrina added: “I would recommend the course to anyone with an interest in journalism because it gives you first-hand experience and prepares you for the world of work.”

She also been news editor of the university’s student-led newspaper, The Demon, for the last two years and was Midlands officer for the national Student Publication Association and says the experience gained in both has been invaluable.

Tim Cole, editor of all four publications, said: “Katrina came in with a very well-rounded and balanced understanding of what is required in the multimedia age of journalism.

“We asked her to discuss the value, problems and advantages of print and social media and she came up with very interesting views for what works best in each format.

“She was particularly keen to serve in a local context and her attitude was something we saw would fit in well.”

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As for the importance of NCTJ qualifications, Mr Cole said: “That is vital. We go through all the candidates – and we had an awful lot – and immediately anyone who has not done the NCTJ-course is excluded as it is so important.”

Programme leader and senior journalism lecturer John Dilley, himself an experienced journalist and former newspaper and magazine editor, said: “We are all absolutely delighted that Katrina has got the job and in giving her a reference I said that she will make a brilliant addition to the newsroom.

“Katrina marked herself out from day one as someone who wanted to go the extra mile and she has demonstrated that throughout.

“Being on an NCTJ accredited course is a huge advantage because of the attention to reporting, shorthand and the opportunities it gives to get out into the real world.”

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Students take up the call to vote in the DMU elections

By Connor Watson

DMU students have been described as extremely positive and active during the student union elections that end today.

From the polling staff to the actual candidates the participation by the entire university has been described as positive and a great experience to be around.

Jason Foreman, a candidate for the Deputy President, said: “The reaction has been almost totally positive.”

He said voters have been very keen to get involved and the fight between candidates has been constructive.

“The camaraderie from all the candidates has been great as well, we have all formed friendships and groups from the entire thing,” he added.

“You would expect a bit of tension but the support from everyone including the union staff has been nothing but great.”

The candidates have been canvasing the campus for over a week now with posters, stalls and even themselves going around and trying to drum up support.

The voting for elections ends tonight February 19 and the results will be announced tomorrow, February 20 at 3pm.

Sam Hilton, a Student Engagement Coordinator for the Student Union, said: “These students involved have been some of the nicest out of all the elections I’ve done.

“Even when they say no to wanting to vote they are incredibly polite about it.

“I’ve also seen lots of support in each other and all of the candidates seem to be willing to help each other out.”

Sam has been running a polling booth on campus for students to vote at and to listen to any queries and complaints about it.