“Becoming a ‘proper’ journalist…is turning out to be a good choice”

By Jane Renton, bursary recipient 2011-2012

To describe my life now – two months into the MA Newspaper Journalism course at Nottingham Trent University – I am going to borrow a quote from my recent interview with comedy ninja Gina Yashere: “I’m hustling. I’m doing alright. I’m hustling”.

Despite doing the course part-time, there is simply no slack in the day, which begins and ends in a dream subtitled in (imperfect) shorthand. Apart from Thursdays – which will henceforth always be prefixed by ‘thank God it’s’ – my days are a blend of dictation, law and ethics. Like rain, there is a threat of impending essays. Somewhere in the background, dissonant and syncopated are the other demands in life: children, bills, eating and sleep.

Called the “interesting bits” by the famously blunt northern course tutor, the newspaper skills module comes in the second year. Subbing, reporting, interviewing and layout, these are the skills more practically useful to a journalist, and I look forward to refining these.

However – and this is possibly why I am gratefully harassed – I still have a rattling schedule of submissions, interviews and profiles. Gina Yashere last week, Jes Wilkins, executive producer of Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, this week and I have a few ideas for next week. These threads are contacts I want to build on and take forward as my skills and style progress. Keeping the momentum and refining the skills takes some accommodation, but the challenge feels good.

Becoming a “proper” journalist, as a friend put it, is turning out to be a good choice. There is a great deal to say and a diverse population to reflect that. Doing this course funded by the Journalism Diversity Fund is a valuable step towards creating more diversity in the newsroom.