Being a journalist was always my dream job, but I was never quite sure how to go about it

By Lucy Roue, bursary recipient 2011-2012

I remember attending a ‘how to break into journalism’ speech at university and leaving with the impression that it was going to be impossible for me to become a journalist because I wouldn’t be able to afford the course fees. So instead, I applied for a position as an editorial assistant at a newspaper in Newcastle and tried to accept that journalism just wasn’t an option for me.

But when I started work – carrying out admin duties in the newsroom – I was fully engrossed by the journalists around me. I soon volunteered to write theatre reviews and music columns in my spare time and after 18 months of this I applied to the Journalism Diversity Fund. This felt like a big gamble: I had a student loan to pay off and it meant quitting my job to study, without any guarantee of making it as a journalist.

I received a bursary to study the fast-track Multimedia Journalism Foundation Course at Press Association, Newcastle and before I finished the course I started looking for a job. This meant balancing job interviews with law revision, extra shorthand and news drive days. However, it paid off and I was offered the position as a trainee reporter on The Sentinel – a daily newspaper in Staffordshire.

It has been a massive change in my life. I have moved hundreds of miles away from my friends and family, but I haven’t looked back because the news patch is brilliant and to start on a daily paper is a great opportunity.

The best part is that every day is different. In the last four months I have found myself in the middle of an armed siege, interviewing premiership footballers, and everything in between. The feeling when you see your front page story splashed on billboards and sold across a big city is hard to describe.

Don’t get me wrong, journalism is not an easy option. There are days when you find yourself door-knocking in the rain and a 10 head vox-pop waiting for you on your return. But it is all relative and I wouldn’t want to do anything else. Journalism has opened so many doors for me. I flew business class to Dubai for a travel feature – which as a working-class girl was almost unthinkable – and I even found my now other half lurking around the newsroom.

I hope journalism will have a positive effect on all of you who have something to bring to the industry.

Best of luck.