By Bobbi Hadgraft
This week marked the start of a whole new chapter in my journalistic career. I was so eager to get started at the Gazette and the experience gained in my first week alone set me aback. In a nutshell, it felt like an enormous step in the direction I’ve had my heart set on since school.
To bring in a bit of background: I’m currently in my second year of study at University Academy 92. Unsurprisingly, I’m reading journalism. My first year was everything I could have asked for and more, but 2020 has been a crazy year. My time in Manchester was cut short by the pandemic and I had to move back home to East Yorkshire. This wasn’t the ‘Uni experience’ I’d craved; however, I didn’t want to sit around and feel sorry for myself. I had to compromise.
Summer proved to be challenging and – like everything else – work placements I had organised were cancelled. UA92 were amazing in proving the power of industry partners, and renowned journalist Kevin Palmer couldn’t have been more helpful in helping my course get into the swing of writing articles worthy of being published online. A handful of bylines later and my motivation was rejuvenated. The cycle of lockdown began to subside.
Fast forward to now. I’m (still) living at my family home in East Yorkshire and commuting to Manchester a couple of times per week for the on-campus sessions. A few weeks ago, I saw a dream role advertised online, threw every bit of experience I’ve gained in the industry into my CV and went for it. I still can’t believe I can now call myself a correspondent for my local newspaper, The Hornsea and Holderness Gazette.
My first day arrived and my nerves were impossible to ignore. My colleague took me through the system and tasked me with writing up press releases within the first hour. Although I was surprised to be thrown right in, this is exactly how I like to set the ball rolling. Several press releases later and I’d cracked it and “made it look easy”. I was absolutely chuffed.
The Gazette, which is published every Thursday, has a deadline to be sent to print at around midday on Wednesday. Wednesdays at UA92 consist of digital based tasks we can complete anytime, so I agreed to work the full 9-5pm shift every week at the paper. The tempo was different on this day, with the emphasis on proof reading and ensuring everything was ready to be submitted. This was another great early learning point. Amid the chaos, when my colleagues were occupied tying up loose ends, I used my initiative to search my area of correspondence for stories to be placed in next week’s edition.
By the end of the week I had reached out to the local council, to event organisers and individuals whose stories had stood out to me. I had written these up and planned for my first event of which I’ll attend, proudly representing the Gazette.