NCTJ Student Council: Anything is possible with hard work and determination

By Lamiat Sabin, bursary recipient 2012/13

Navigating the spaghetti junction of Victoria to reach the NCTJ Student Council meeting was a feat in itself. After weaving in and out of smoggy roadworks and narrowly missing a street cleaner’s wheelie bin, I managed to find the Microsoft HQ, where MSN was hosting the event.

“There’s nothing to stop you… there are zero barriers, the world is your oyster,” said Dominic Eames, editor-in-chief of MSN UK. Having started his career in filmmaking and then making the leap into the internet world in the 90s, Dominic is adamant that budding journalists shouldn’t limit themselves in terms of what they can offer employers and editors, especially in a world run by the web.

The session wasn’t entirely motivational pep talk though. Students got the chance to air their concerns about their studies and were able to pose industry questions to a panel of editors. An overwhelming majority of these questions were based on what exactly editors were looking for in a potential freelancer or staff writer. In case you’re wondering, these included: an abundance of ideas for varied mediums, enthusiasm, flexibility, varied digital skills and the capability to deliver at deadline.

Brian Flynn

Brian Flynn (photo courtesy of Peter Summers)

The student council meeting continued with a presentation by Brian Flynn, investigations editor of The Sun. Brian described, with an entertaining slideshow of photographs, his journey from being an NCTJ student to his action-packed career. Stories included tracking down the most wanted Nazi war criminal in Hungary and getting an undercover man to smuggle a gun through the UK border, to show lax security.

Joanna Wilson showed us how she made her dreams come true. She told us that she juggled an NCTJ course with working 30 hours a week at Pizza Hut to eventually land her ideal job as a sub-editor for Sky Sports News.

Anything is possible with hard work and determination.