James studied for a degree in Journalism at City, University of London, and graduated in 2014.
What do you do now? What do you enjoy about what you do?
I know how to write in the most engaging way for an online audience in order to ensure a good experience for the reader and also obtain high levels of traffic for the website. I enjoy the fast-paced nature of the job and the moments when breaking news happens the most.
What path have you taken to get there? Were there any particular areas of interest that lead to you specialising?
I studied the three-year BA journalism course. I did a range of specialisms including photo journalism and sports. I progressed to my current position initially from a part-time role at the Daily Express, working two nights a week as I studied. As the website started to grow I got on board with the online news team and then made the switch to the online sports desk.
Why did you choose to study at City and how has it helped you?
I chose City for a number of reasons, primarily its reputation within the industry, but also it's location and facilities. The three combined mean you're well set up for work after graduation and a number of my course mates are working in similar roles for other national newspapers and big-name agencies in the city.
What did you enjoy most about your course?
I enjoyed being in the heart of London. City is ideally situated and you'll be hard pushed not to enjoy living and studying in the area. I enjoyed the diversity of the course very much - striking a balance between print, online and broadcast. And the hands-on elements of certain classes were always the most enjoyable, for example filming news stories as part of a group and working on projects such as websites or radio shows.
What was the hardest part of your course?
The hardest part of the course is definitely the fact that you rely on other people for your material and therefore grades. If that interview is cancelled or bad or doesn't go as planned then the quality of the work you produce can be at risk. Therefore, I'd recommend being pro-active and not leaving assignments until the last minute. And always make sure you have a plan B.
What was your favourite part of being a City Student?
In all honesty, I have no idea. I feel like the skills have acquired are very versatile and could lead me into other avenues of journalism in the future or perhaps a job less directly linked with the news industry itself.
If you could give one piece of advice to a prospective City Journalism student, what would it be?
The biggest piece of advice I can give is try and get experience whilst you're living in London. It will make a huge difference when you graduate and are looking for a job. My experience in the industry, especially online, is we need new members of staff quickly and that bit of previous experience can really make you stand out from the crowd. Also if you're already in the company, even at the lowest level, you will still have an advantage over the competition. If you make a name for yourself and get contacts you can jump ahead of the queue of CVs.
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