There are many things which I have to do for this course, but one that’s been at the forefront of my mind recently has been writing articles for my NCTJ portfolio. This must include 10 articles, one of which has to be a news feature (that’ll be written as part of the Public Affairs module), and although it isn’t due until May we’ve been assured that before long it’ll be April and we’ll be running around like headless chickens wondering why we only have one article worth submitting.
The easiest way to get cuttings is to write for the Kingston Courier, our very own hyperlocal news website (the efforts of last year’s students have led to them being shortlisted for an NCTJ award, so it’s faintly terrifying that it’s now been entrusted to us). Even this isn’t easy though, as alongside the obvious problem of fitting research and writing in around the rest of our work (and we have plenty), we’ve been confronted with an inconvenient truth: everyone hates journalists. Or at least distrusts them. As soon as you say you are one in researching a story you see the smiles start to slip, and hear the voices falter. Last week I was passed around multiple departments, kept on hold indefinitely, questioned as to how I had the audacity to call someone on their lunch break and hung up on, all in the same call. And this was in an attempt to write a good news story!
The fact that this treatment made me more determined to write the story in question is probably the biggest indicator I’ve yet had that I’ve chosen the right career path. Negative impact on my blood pressure aside, I’m definitely enjoying the experience.