I remember being in year 13 trying to figure out the best way into journalism. Like most other sixth form students I couldn’t decide whether I’d be better off getting an apprenticeship or going to uni. I figured it was worth looking around at some universities to see what they had to offer and whether I thought it was worthwhile me doing a degree.
A journalism degree had crossed my mind but I wasn’t sure just how beneficial it would be in helping me break into the industry – until I went to the University of Kent open day and spoke to the team from the Centre for Journalism.
I knew that you couldn’t work as a journalist without an NCTJ (National Council for the Training of Journalists) qualification. While talking to the lecturers they mentioned that they offer their students the opportunity to earn the NCTJ qualification while doing their degree. I knew I’d hit the jackpot as very few universities in the UK offer this.
Another winning factor was the choice that you get in your final year. You can opt to do a final year project where you’ll make either a TV or radio documentary, or a long-form piece of multimedia or print journalism. Or you can make a piece of live television (that might even be shown on a real TV channel). There’s also the option of a dissertation.
I went home that day with all my questions answered. I wanted to go to the CfJ.
The course itself is multimedia journalism, meaning you get trained in print, broadcast and online journalism. For anyone unsure of what area of journalism they want to get into, this is the perfect way to find out.
At Kent you will never be shy of industry experience. At the end of the first year everyone is sent on a week’s work experience placement at the KM Group. You get to work in one of its newsrooms and have the chance to pitch story ideas, carry out interviews and write stories.
This is great for confidence-building and a good opportunity to bag yourself a few bylines. I was lucky enough to get a few stories in the paper and online – and have since gone back to do some more work experience with the KM team.
It was on this placement that I learned that there is so much more to journalism than just being a good writer and became a big turning point in me believing in my ability to be a good journalist.
And it doesn’t stop there. You also get the chance to intern at KMTV and get paid doing it (Yes, PAID, you read that right!).
KMTV is an Ofcom licensed professional TV station that serves the whole of Kent – and just happens to be based on the university campus. Each year the channel takes on around 10 journalism students for paid intern shifts. I’ve been interning at KMTV for around 8 months now and have had some incredible experiences. Within 4 months of my internship I was sent to an overnight election count at Dartford. Here I got to interview MPs, council members and candidates. Through KMTV, I was responsible for the results being announced to the people of Dartford and that level of experience is invaluable to earn as a student. While interning at KMTV you learn how to edit TV packages, how a live TV show operates behind the scenes and sometimes you get to make a cheeky appearance on camera – which is rather terrifying but equally exciting.
Most jobs will require experience in the industry and at Kent this is something you will never need to worry about. That’s just one of the many things that makes the CfJ a unique place to learn.
Workspace and equipment
“The news never sleeps!” Those are words that stick in my mind from Week One. That’s why journalism students have access to a newsroom which is open 24/7.
The newsroom is also where most of our lectures take place. The newsroom is filled with Macs which have the latest editing software for design, audio and video.
Around deadline week you can guarantee the newsroom will be packed out with your course mates frantically running around trying to finish the work they should have started six weeks ago but like most students, left it to the last minute. Even if you are way ahead of the game, I can guarantee you will still be in there!
While the Centre for Journalism has so much to offer, it would not be as successful as it is without the people running it. We’re taught by incredible lecturers who have a wealth of experience and knowledge. They’re dedicated to the industry, and in turn, dedicated to producing the best news reporters to enter into it.
Each lecturer has something different to offer. Their experiences range from digital storytelling, print, broadcast, local and national news; with some specialising in sport reporting, feature writing, politics and documentary-making.
Whatever it is you’re looking to get into, there is someone with a lot of knowledge waiting to give it to you. Combined together, the lecturers here teach you everything you would need to know, plus a bit extra.
The CfJ only take on a relatively small group of students each year, which means we’re able to form really strong relationships with our lecturers. Deadline week is a time when we lean on them the most and they never let us down.
They say the friends you make at uni are friends for life and I couldn’t agree more. We have all become incredibly close. I’ve had quite a few comments from people on other courses on how they wish their course had the same relationship with each other that us journalists do.
There is a real sense of community at the CfJ. Every year group mixes, everyone is friendly and there is always someone about that’s willing to help. That’s a rarity to find and I still can’t believe I’m a part of something like that at university.
The Centre for Journalism isn’t just a place of study. It’s a place of aspiration, success and most importantly family. One I’m proud to be part of.
Chloe Rose is a third year student on the BA in Journalism at the University of Kent
Find out more….
Start your journalism career at the University of Kent, where students regularly secure a first newsroom job before graduation. At the Centre for Journalism you will be treated as a reporter from day one. Teaching happens in newsrooms and broadcast studios, and every day begins with a news conference where staff and students discuss the day’s top stories.
Our BA Journalism is accredited by the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ), giving you high quality professional training in law, politics, shorthand, ethics and other key skills employers want. And you will be studying at the only university in the country where journalism teaching is co-located with a professional television station. KMTV’s professional full-time journalists and paid student interns broadcast live news and sport every day on Freeview (channel 7 in Kent), Virgin (channel 159) and the internet. At the station, students gain invaluable experience of working on live and pre-recorded programmes and build impressive portfolios to show employers.
Employability is at the heart of everything we do. It’s why you will learn how to produce professional content for radio, TV, print, digital and social platforms to reflect the range of skills required of modern journalists. It’s why we give you the confidence to find stories and make contacts in a local news patch. And it’s why we encourage you to develop your own interests into a specialism by developing a network of contacts, rigorous research skills and your ability to find strong, original angles.
That’s why our graduates are already making waves in newsrooms across the country.
Emma Rae Woodhouse was already working as an Output Producer at Sky News before her graduation day in July 2019. She honed her skills as an intern at KMTV, where she learned how to turn her ideas into high quality television packages.
Brad Gray also graduated in July 2019 and immediately began work as a multimedia reporter for Essex Live, where he covers politics, crime and offbeat entertainment stories. Within a month his name had appeared on the front page of his local newspaper.
Grace Macrae, another 2019 graduate, secured a job as a TV and Radio reporter for the Daily Express, using her online journalism skills to cover entertainment news from the United States and the UK.
Be like Emma, Brad and Karina – start your journalism career at Kent. More details at www.kent.ac.uk/journalism